Incubation of L6 skeletal myoblasts for 16 h with cholera toxin but not with pertussis toxin, led to the inhibition of inositol phosphate generation induced by subsequent exposure to vasopressin. The effects of the toxin on inositol lipid metabolism were accompanied by the total ADP-ribosylation of the available cholera-toxin substrates within the cells. Immunological analysis demonstrated that the two polypeptides modified in vivo by cholera toxin were different forms of Gs alpha (alpha subunit of Gs). No novel cholera-toxin substrate(s) were detected. The cholera-toxin-mediated inhibition of vasopressin-stimulated inositol phosphate generation could be mimicked by both forskolin and dibutyryl cyclic AMP, but not by the separated subunits of the toxin. Receptor-binding studies demonstrated that the inhibition of agonist-stimulated inositol phosphate generation was accompanied by a decrease in cell-surface vasopressin-binding sites, with no effect on the affinity of these for the hormone. We suggest that the effect of cholera toxin and agents which increase intracellular cyclic AMP on vasopressin-stimulated inositol lipid hydrolysis is an effect on receptor number, and that there is no requirement to postulate a role for a novel G-protein, which is a substrate for cholera toxin, in the regulation of inositol phospholipid metabolism.

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