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Unraveling G protein-coupled receptor endocytosis pathways using real-time monitoring of agonist-promoted interaction between beta-arrestins and AP-2.

Hamdan FF, Rochdi MD, Breton B, Fessart D, Michaud DE, Charest PG, Laporte SA, Bouvier M

Department of Biochemistry, Groupe de Recherche Universitaire sur le Médicament, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The most widely studied pathway underlying agonist-promoted internalization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) involves beta-arrestin and clathrin-coated pits. However, both beta-arrestin- and clathrin-independent processes have also been reported. Classically, the endocytic routes are characterized using pharmacological inhibitors and various dominant negative mutants, resulting sometimes in conflicting results and interpretational difficulties. Here, taking advantage of the fact that beta-arrestin binding to the beta2 subunit of the clathrin adaptor AP-2 (beta2-adaptin) is needed for the beta-arrestin-mediated targeting of GPCRs to clathrin-coated pits, we developed a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based approach directly assessing the molecular steps involved in the endocytosis of GPCRs in living cells. For 10 of the 12 receptors tested, including some that were previously suggested to internalize via clathrin-independent pathways, agonist stimulation promoted beta-arrestin 1 and 2 interaction with beta2-adaptin, indicating a beta-arrestin- and clathrin-dependent endocytic process. Detailed analyses of beta-arrestin interactions with both the receptor and beta2-adaptin also allowed us to demonstrate that recruitment of beta-arrestins to the receptor and the ensuing conformational changes are the leading events preceding AP-2 engagement and subsequent clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Among the receptors tested, only the endothelin A and B receptors failed to promote interaction between beta-arrestins and beta2-adaptin. However, both receptors recruited beta-arrestins upon agonist stimulation, suggesting a beta-arrestin-dependent but clathrin-independent route of internalization for these two receptors. In addition to providing a new tool to dissect the molecular events involved in GPCR endocytosis, the bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based beta-arrestin/beta2-adaptin interaction assay represents a novel biosensor to assess receptor activation.

J. Biol. Chem. 2007;282(40):29089-100.

Pubmed ID: 17675294

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