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GPR39 is a G-protein-coupled zinc receptor that protects against diverse effectors of cell death. Its protective activity is mediated via constitutive activation of Gα13 and the RhoA pathway, leading to increased SRE (serum-response element)-dependent transcription; the zinc-dependent immediate activation of GPR39 involves Gq-mediated increases in cytosolic Ca2+ and Gs coupling leading to increased cAMP levels. We used the cytosolic and soluble C-terminus of GPR39 in a Y2H (yeast-2-hybrid) screen for interacting proteins, thus identifying PKIB (protein kinase A inhibitor β). Co-expression of GPR39 with PKIB increased the protective activity of GPR39 via the constitutive, but not the ligand-mediated, pathway. PKIB inhibits protein kinase A by direct interaction with its pseudosubstrate domain; mutation of this domain abolished the inhibitory activity of PKIB on protein kinase A activity, but had no effect on the interaction with GPR39, cell protection and induction of SRE-dependent transcription. Zinc caused dissociation of PKIB from GPR39, thereby liberating it to associate with protein kinase A and inhibit its activity, which would result in a negative-feedback loop with the ability to limit activation of the Gs pathway by zinc.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





125 - 132


Animals, CHO Cells, Cell Line, Cell Membrane, Cricetulus, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases, HeLa Cells, Humans, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Mice, Protein Kinase Inhibitors, Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled, Two-Hybrid System Techniques, Zinc