A novel photoaffinity label, m-acetylanilido-GTP (m-AcAGTP), was synthesized and used to identify GTP-binding proteins (G-proteins). This GTP analogue is easily prepared and can be used for photoaffinity labelling of G-proteins without chromatographic purification. In the presence of the beta-adrenergic agonist isoprenaline, it activates turkey erythrocyte adenylate cyclase. This activation persists even when the beta-adrenergic receptor is subsequently blocked by antagonist, indicating that the GTP analogue is resistant to hydrolysis. The apparent Ka for activation of turkey erythrocyte adenylate cyclase by m-AcAGTP was found to be 0.21 microM, a value similar to that for guanosine 5′-[beta,gamma-imido]triphosphate. m-AcAGTP also effectively inhibited the light-dependent GTPase of Musca fly eye membranes. Photoaffinity labelling of fly eye membranes with [alpha-32P]m-AcAGTP, followed by immunoprecipitation of G-protein Gq, identified a labelled protein band with the mobility of a 41.5 kDa protein on SDS/PAGE. Labelling of this protein was enhanced 9-fold in blue over red illuminated membranes, containing metarhodopsin and rhodopsin respectively. Labelling of alpha-subunits of heterotrimeric G-proteins was also demonstrated in turkey erythrocyte membranes. The ease of preparation of m-AcAGTP and the chemical properties of the photoreactive acetophenone make this affinity label an important new tool in studies of cellular phenomena mediated by guanine nucleotide-binding proteins.

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