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 M r 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 M r 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.