Although convention dictates that G protein-coupled receptors localize to and signal at the plasma membrane, accumulating evidence suggests that G protein-coupled receptors localize to and signal at intracellular membranes, most notably the nucleus. In fact, there is now significant evidence indicating that endogenous alpha-1 adrenergic receptors (α1-ARs) localize to and signal at the nuclei in adult cardiac myocytes. Cumulatively, the data suggest that α1-ARs localize to the inner nuclear membrane, activate intranuclear signaling, and regulate physiologic function in adult cardiac myocytes. Although α1-ARs signal through Gαq, unlike other Gq-coupled receptors, α1-ARs mediate important cardioprotective functions including adaptive/physiologic hypertrophy, protection from cell death (survival signaling), positive inotropy, and preconditioning. Also unlike other Gq-coupled receptors, most, if not all, functional α1-ARs localize to the nuclei in adult cardiac myocytes, as opposed to the sarcolemma. Together, α1-AR nuclear localization and cardioprotection might suggest a novel model for compartmentalization of Gq-coupled receptor signaling in which nuclear Gq-coupled receptor signaling is cardioprotective.
- alpha-1-adrenergic receptor
- cardiac myocyte