The R7 RGS protein family: multi-subunit regulators of neuronal G protein signaling.
G protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways mediate the transmission of signals from the extracellular environment to the generation of cellular responses, a process that is critically important for neurons and neurotransmitter action. The ability to promptly respond to rapidly changing stimulation requires timely inactivation of G proteins, a process controlled by a family of specialized proteins known as regulators of G protein signaling (RGS). The R7 group of RGS proteins (R7 RGS) has received special attention due to their pivotal roles in the regulation of a range of crucial neuronal processes such as vision, motor control, reward behavior, and nociception in mammals. Four proteins in this group, RGS6, RGS7, RGS9, and RGS11, share a common molecular organization of three modules: (i) the catalytic RGS domain, (ii) a GGL domain that recruits G beta(5), an outlying member of the G protein beta subunit family, and (iii) a DEP/DHEX domain that mediates interactions with the membrane anchor proteins R7BP and R9AP. As heterotrimeric complexes, R7 RGS proteins not only associate with and regulate a number of G protein signaling pathway components, but have also been found to form complexes with proteins that are not traditionally associated with G protein signaling. This review summarizes our current understanding of the biology of the R7 RGS complexes including their structure/functional organization, protein-protein interactions, and physiological roles.