Inhibition of insulin secretion from rat islets of Langerhans is known to involve at least one pertussis toxin-sensitive guanine-nucleotide binding (G) protein. We have used antisera raised against unique antigenic determinants of different members of the family of pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins to identify these proteins in rat islets. Antiserum SG1, which recognizes both Gi1 and Gi2, reacted with an islet protein having an approximate Mr of 40 000. Antiserum IlC (Gi1 specific) failed to recognize any islet proteins, suggesting that Gi2 is present in much greater amounts than Gi1. Indeed, Gi1 levels were below the detection limit of a sensitive immunogold/silver-staining method, indicating that it may be absent from the cells of rat islets.
Two different antisera were used to identify Go-like G proteins in rat islet homogenates. Both antisera reacted with a protein band which, under appropriate conditions, could be resolved to reveal two separate proteins of Mr 39–40 000. Thus, at least two molecular forms of Go are present in rat islets.
Subcellular fractionation indicated that all three G proteins identified in this study (Gi2 and two forms of Go) are localized to islet membranes. No immunoreactivity could be detected in the cytosolic fraction.