Signal transduction typically begins by ligand-dependent activation of a concomitant partner which is otherwise in its resting state. However, in cases where signal activation is constitutive by default, the mechanism of regulation is unknown. The Arabidopsis thaliana heterotrimeric Gα protein self-activates without accessory proteins, and is kept in its resting state by the negative regulator, AtRGS1 (Regulator of G protein Signaling 1), which is the prototype of a seven transmembrane receptor fused with an RGS domain. Endocytosis of AtRGS1 by ligand-dependent endocytosis physically uncouples the GTPase accelerating activity of AtRGS1 from the Gα protein, permitting sustained activation. Phosphorylation of AtRGS1 by AtWNK8 kinase causes AtRGS1 endocytosis, required both for G protein-mediated sugar signaling and cell proliferation. In animals, receptor endocytosis results in signal desensitization, whereas in plants, endocytosis results in signal activation. These findings reveal how different organisms rearrange a regulatory system to result in opposite outcomes using similar phosphorylation-dependent endocytosis.