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International Journal of Molecular Sciences


G protein-coupled receptor, atrial fibrillation, cardiac myocyte, cyclic AMP, heart failure, regulator of G protein signaling-4, signal transduction







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The regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins are crucial for the termination of G protein signals elicited by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This superfamily of cell membrane receptors, by far the largest and most versatile in mammals, including humans, play pivotal roles in the regulation of cardiac function and homeostasis. Perturbations in both the activation and termination of their G protein-mediated signaling underlie numerous heart pathologies, including heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AFib). Therefore, RGS proteins play important roles in the pathophysiology of these two devasting cardiac diseases, and several of them could be targeted therapeutically. Although close to 40 human RGS proteins have been identified, each RGS protein seems to interact only with a specific set of G protein subunits and GPCR types/subtypes in any given tissue or cell type. Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies in animal models, and also in diseased human heart tissue obtained from transplantations or tissue banks, have provided substantial evidence of the roles various cardiomyocyte RGS proteins play in cardiac normal homeostasis as well as pathophysiology. One RGS protein in particular, RGS4, has been reported in what are now decades-old studies to be selectively upregulated in human HF. It has also been implicated in protection against AFib via knockout mice studies. This review summarizes the current understanding of the functional roles of cardiac RGS proteins and their implications for the treatment of HF and AFib, with a specific focus on RGS4 for the aforementioned reasons but also because it can be targeted successfully with small organic molecule inhibitors.


Funding: A.L. is supported by an NIH/NHLBI (R01 #HL155718-01) grant.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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