Stephen Sprang ( edit )

Professor & Director of CBSD

Contact Stephen Sprang

Phone: 406-243-6028
Fax: 406-243-6024
E-mail Address:
Office : Isb 106a


 B.S. in Biochemistry from California State University of Los Angeles in 1971

Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1977

Postdoctoral studies with Robert Fletterick at the University of Alberta and the University of California at San Francisco, 1978-1983

Research Interests

We are among the research laboratories of the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. We study the structural chemistry of cellular signal transduction - the protein machines that control the timeing and rate of processes such as cell division, gene transcription, electical conduction and mobilization of energy sources in cells.  Much of our work has been focused on  heterotrimeric G proteins, the ways that they are stimulated and repressed, and how they activate and inhibit regulatory enzymes in cells.  We employ X-ray crystallography, using the facilities of the Center, to study these processes at molecular and atomic detail.  In collaboration with Sandy Ross's laboratory, we use fluorescence specroscopy to observe conformational transitions in G proteins at single molecule resolution.

How do G proteins regulate effectors - how do effectors regulate G proteins?

When bound to GTP, G proteins regulate the activity of signaling molecules called effectors. Effectors may have reciprocal effects on G proteins, most commonly by accelerating GTP hydrolysis (thereby leading to dissociation of the G protein from its effector). Earlier work addressed the regulation of adenylyl cyclase by Gas,

and more recently, the mechanism by which Ga13 regulates G-protein dependent regulators of cytoskeleton formation. These remarkable effectors activate the small G protein, Rho.  At the same time, these effectors deactivate Ga13, resulting in tightly coupled cycles of G-protein activation and deactivation.


Mou, TC, Masada, N, Cooper, DM, Sprang SR (2009) "Structural basis for inhibition of mammalian adenylyl cyclase by calcium" Biochemistry, 48, 3387-97 Free PMC Article


Chen, Z., Singer, WD,  Danesh, SM, Sternweis, PC, Sprang, SR (2008) "Recognition of the activated states of Galpha13 by the rgRGS domain of PDZRhoGEF, Structure, 16, 1532-43 Free PMC Article


Thomas, CJ, Tall, GG, Adhikari, A, Sprang, SR (2008) "Ric-8A catalyzes guanine nucleotide exchange on Galphai1 bound to the GPC/GoLoco exchange inhibitor AGS3" J. Biol. Chem., 283, 23150-60 Free PMC Article


Sprang, S (2007) “A Receptor Unlocked”, Nature, 450, 355-6


Sprang, SR, Chen, Z, Du, X (2007) "Structural basis of effector regulation and signal termination in heterotrimeric Galpha proteins", Adv. Protein. Chem.,74, 1-65


American Chemical Society

Biophysical Society

Field of Study

Structural Biology and Biochemistry: Biological Signal Transduction


Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2000