The effects of guanosine 5′-[beta-thio]diphosphate (GDP[S]) on the kinetics of activation of rat liver membrane adenylate cyclase by guanosine 5′-[beta, gamma-imido]triphosphate (p[NH]ppG) were examined. GDP[S] caused immediate inhibition of the activation by p[NH]ppG at all time points tested. Substantial inhibition by GDP[S] was observed even after the time required for the enzyme to reach its steady-state activity, but the extent of inhibition became progressively smaller as the preincubation time with p[NH]ppG increased. The rate at which adenylate cyclase became quasi-irreversibly activated was a strictly first-order process. In the presence of glucagon, the formation of the irreversibly activated state was much slower. A combination of GDP[S] and glucagon could partially reverse the quasi-irreversible activation by p[NH]ppG. Glucagon decreased the lag time required for p[NH]ppG to activate adenylate cyclase and increased the extent of activation by p[NH]ppG. This stimulatory effect of the hormone on top of guanine nucleotide decreased on preincubation with p[NH]ppG, but not with GTP. Our results suggest that the activation of adenylate cyclase by non-hydrolysable GTP analogues is a two-stage process: the formation of a reversibly activated form (G rev) is a rapid process, followed by a much slower formation of the quasi-irreversibly activated form (G irr). Glucagon can stimulate G rev but not G irr, and can partially facilitate the formation of the G rev from the G irr state.

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