Daily Archives: April 14, 2012

G proteins: the connector proteins that try to prevent Autism Spectrum Disorder

Prof Mark Rasenick’s team in Chicago, Dr Gunner Schulte team in Sweden, and teams of experts all over the world like Dr Robert, Dorsam and Dr Silvio Gutkind, in Universities and industries are studying the G proteins in the developing and degenerating brain. They have a theory that if they understand how the G proteins work, they can cure a number of brain issues. In G proteins may lie an answer on how to cure Autism Spectrum Disorder and also, how to prevent it in the future.

G proteins are made of three proteins named alpha, beta and gamma. There are many different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma proteins and they can combine in many different ways. So, how many kinds of G proteins can there be? Many and more are being discovered. What is the function of the G proteins? They are connectors.

The G protein made up of alpha, beta and gamma proteins

Everyone knows that a connector is either a person who knows a lot of people who know lots more people or a connector is a valve that interconnects two tubes. Similarly, a G protein is a connector. It makes things happen within people. A person is made up of many, many cells, carrying genetic information. Inside each cell, in addition to genes are many different kinds of G proteins. When the cell gets a signal, its genes respond. Well, how does a signal outside the cell get to the genes inside the cell to tell it to respond? The G proteins. They interconnect the protein that receives the signal with the protein that activates the gene.

Now, let’s imagine the human gene receives a signal to die, because the signal was a severe toxin. Does the human being die? No, because survival is a crucial cell behavior. So, for a human being to die, many genes in many cells have to receive a signal to die. Which means, when the human is stimulated by a specific combination of signals rather than a single signal acting alone, only then does the cell collect the information coming from separate signals, integrates this information, and then makes a proper response – to die. The cell may also receive a similar integrated signal for another important human event – to grow and divide and to live. This integration is equivalent to microprocessors in a computer.

G protein connected receptor: When a human smells something or gets an infection or touches a chemical, a signal is received and processed ultimately by the brain. The human responds by “liking” the smell, or “succumbing” or “resisting” the infection or getting a chemical reaction. How does a signal in the environment reach the brain? Signals are received by proteins on the cell surface, called receptors. Within the cell are G proteins which connect these receptors to their target enzyme or ion channel, which ultimately tell the genes how to respond. You would expect a defective G protein to mess up a signal pathway. This is prevented because there appears to be “back up” G proteins which can take care of connector functions to keep the cell’s crucial functions going smoothly. To view a schematic in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer by Drs Robert T. Dorsam and J. Silvio Gutkind click here. It beautifully illustrates how G proteins integrate several receptors receiving many signals through several secondary messengers.

This schematic will also explain why answers to question “which signal causes 1 in 88 or 100 children have autism today” cannot be answered by just one factor like obesity or SHANK gene mutation or An aging father or a G protein mutation.

Second Messengers: Most G protein connected receptors activate a chain of events that alters the concentration of one or more small signaling molecules inside the cell. These second messengers in turn, pass the signal on by altering the behavior of selected cellular proteins. One very widely used second messenger is Calcium, stimulated by a distinct G-protein connected pathway. Another widely used second messenger is Cyclic AMP.

When a hormone is the chemical that acts as a signal the response is via second messenger Cyclic AMP.
When G proteins receive a signal to connect to another crucial enzyme – phospholipase C, then it changes the concentration of calcium within the cell, which is a far more widely used second messenger than Cyclic AMP.

In the next article I will reveal how calcium signaling works or as relevant to Autism – does not work.

An expert on G-protein of the brain:
There are many scientists in the world who are working on the G protein. Do reach out to them and request them to speak on their work and explain their focus.
1) Dr Gunnar Schulte and colleagues
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Email: gunnar.schulte@fyfa.ki.se


Prof. Mark M. Rasenick


Physiology and Biophysics, and Psychiatry

Director, Biomedical Neuroscience Training Program, U. Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612

Cytoskeletal modulation of neuronal signal transduction


Related Articles:
Know your G proteins
Studies linking obesity to Autism
Why is Autism observed in America and not in a developing country like Somalia
Autistic child and a multiple sclerosis parent – a connection?

I wish to thank two of my readers:

1)  Everysensory blogger for inspiring me to cover the “whole” picture when the media suddenly focussed on “obesity causes Autism”.

2)  Fitfoodhealthprogram blogger who inspired me to write more information filled articles related Autism.


Filed under Health, Research, Science