Étudiante-chercheuse étoile October 2016

Bianca Plouffe

Postdoctoral fellow in Biochemistry
Université de Montréal

Award-winning publication: GPCR-G Protein-β-Arrestin Super-Complex Mediates Sustained G Protein Signaling

Published in: Cell


There are over one hundred types of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the human body. Specifically activated by its chemical messenger, each receptor triggers different signalling cascades to regulate particular physiological functions that keep the organism alive and healthy. Moreover, the disruption of a single signal often leads to disease. In fact, nearly 50% of current pharmacological treatments target GPCRs to adjust the cellular signals that are disrupted. Since their discovery and until recently, b-arrestin proteins were believed to stop the signalling and enable only some independent channels of the G-proteins. However, Bianca Plouffe and her team were able to demonstrate that, when b-arrestins take on a particular form, they give the G-proteins the space they need to interact with the GPCRs and be activated. This discovery establishes the basis of the mechanism that underlies sustained signalling. The further research made possible by these findings could lead to the development of better targeted pharmacological treatments from a cellular perspective, leading to innovative therapeutic options, such as a new type of chemotherapy with very low potential to cause side effects.