- The importance of signal transduction processes beyond receptors involving receptor-G protein coupling, in both the pathophysiology and the treatment of mood disorders, is well documented. Thus, regulatory elements of G protein function may play a role in the molecular mechanisms underlying these alterations. Phosducin-like proteins, a family of regulators of G protein function expressed throughout brain and body, modulate G protein function by high affinity sequestration of G protein-betagamma subunits, thus impeding G protein-mediated signal transmission by both Galpha and Gbetagamma subunits. An important consequence of Gbetagamma neutralization is the prevention of G protein-coupled receptor kinase phosphorylation resulting in a temporary protection to agonist-bound receptor desensitization. Phosducin-like protein levels were measured in brain cortices of rats chronically treated with one of five classes of antidepressants: imipramine, venlafaxine, maprotiline, citalopram, and moclobemide. None of the antidepressant treatments had any significant effect on phosducin-like protein levels. Phosducin-like protein levels were evaluated in mononuclear leukocytes from a group of 15 patients diagnosed with major depressive episode, both before the initiation of antidepressant treatment and after 4 weeks of antidepressant medication. No protein changes were found in leukocytes of either untreated patients with major depressive disorder or after 4 weeks of the treatment in comparison with healthy volunteers.