Emerging Role of Compartmentalized G Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling in the Cardiovascular Field

Bianca Plouffe, Alex R.B. Thomsen, Roshanak Irannejad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are cell surface receptors that for many years have been considered to function exclusively at the plasma membrane, where they bind to extracellular ligands and activate G protein signaling cascades. According to the conventional model, these signaling events are rapidly terminated by β-arrestin (β-arr) recruitment to the activated GPCR resulting in signal desensitization and receptor internalization. However, during the past decade, emerging evidence suggest that many GPCRs can continue to activate G proteins from intracellular compartments after they have been internalized. G protein signaling from intracellular compartments is in general more sustained compared to G protein signaling at the plasma membrane. Notably, the particular location closer to the nucleus is beneficial for selective cellular functions such as regulation of gene transcription. Here, we review key GPCRs that undergo compartmentalized G protein signaling and discuss molecular considerations and requirements for this signaling to occur. Our main focus will be on receptors involved in the regulation of important physiological and pathological cardiovascular functions. We also discuss how sustained G protein activation from intracellular compartments may be involved in cellular functions that are distinct from functions regulated by plasma membrane G protein signaling, and the corresponding significance in cardiovascular physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalACS Pharmacology and Translational Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 10 2020


  • Golgi membranes
  • US28
  • atherosclerosis
  • calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor
  • cardioprotection
  • compartmentalized G protein signaling
  • early endosomes
  • heart failure (HF)
  • myocardial ischemia
  • nuclear membranes
  • sphingosine-1-phosphate 1 receptor (S1PR)
  • sustained signaling
  • vasopressin type 2 receptor (VR)
  • β-adrenergic receptors (βARs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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