Protein-protein interactions in GCR1 signalling in arabidopsis thaliana

  • Lihua Zhang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are seven-transmembrane receptors that transduce signals from the cell surface to intracellular effectors. There are more than 1000 GPCRs in metazoans, while no GPCR has been definitively identified in plants. The most promising plant GPCR candidate, Arabidopsis G-protein coupled receptor 1 (GCR1), physically couples to the G-protein < subunit GPA1 and is involved in cell cycle regulation, blue light and phytohormone responses, but its signalling network remains largely unknown. This project aimed to achieve a better understanding of GCR1 signalling by identifying its interactors using a novel yeast two hybrid system – the Ras Recruitment System (RRS). Screening of an Arabidopsis cDNA library using a bait comprising intracellular loop 1 (i1) and 2 (i2) of GCR1 resulted in the isolation of 20 potential interactors. Extensive reconfirmation screening demonstrated that three of these interactors: Thioredoxin h3 (TRX3), Thioredoxin h4 (TRX4) and a DHHC type zinc finger family protein (zf-DHHC1) interact specifically with both i1 and i2 of GCR1. This was supported by the reverse RRS (rRRS) and 6xHis-pull-down assays. It is speculated that TRX3 and TRX4, which can reduce disulfide bridges of target proteins and act as powerful antioxidants, may regulate GCR1-mediated signalling events in response to oxidative stress. Alternatively, they may modulate GCR1 targeting or signalling through their chaperone activities. zf-DHHC1 has a predicted membrane topography that is shared by most DHHC domain-containing palmitoyl acyl transferases. It may modify GCR1 activity through palmitoylation of the two cysteines located at the cytoplasmic end of the first transmembrane domain. Together, these findings contribute to the growing understanding of the GCR1 signalling network, and provide valuable starting points for further investigation.
Date of Award1 May 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRichard Hooley (Supervisor) & Roderick Scott (Supervisor)


  • GCR1
  • protein-protein interactions
  • arabidopsis
  • signalling

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