The Journal of biological chemistry

Internalization and sequestration of the human prostacyclin receptor.

PMID 10889200


Prostacyclin (PGI(2)), the major product of cyclooxygenase in macrovascular endothelium, mediates its biological effects through its cell surface G protein-coupled receptor, the IP. PKC-mediated phosphorylation of human (h) IP is a critical determinant of agonist-induced desensitization (Smyth, E. M., Hong Li, W., and FitzGerald, G. A. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 23258-23266). The regulatory events that follow desensitization are unclear. We have examined agonist-induced sequestration of hIP. Human IP, tagged at the N terminus with hemagglutinin (HA) and fused at the C terminus to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), was coupled to increased cAMP (EC(50) = 0.39 +/- 0.09 nm) and inositol phosphate (EC(50) = 86. 6 +/- 18.3 nm) generation when overexpressed in HEK 293 cells. Iloprost-induced sequestration of HAhIP-GFP, followed in real time by confocal microscopy, was partially colocalized to clathrin-coated vesicles. Iloprost induced a time- and concentration-dependent loss of cell surface HA, indicating receptor internalization, which was prevented by inhibitors of clathrin-mediated trafficking and partially reduced by cotransfection of cells with a dynamin dominant negative mutant. Sequestration (EC(50) = 27.6 +/- 5.7 nm) was evident at those concentrations of iloprost that induce PKC-dependent desensitization. Neither the PKC inhibitor GF109203X nor mutation of Ser-328, the site for PKC phosphorylation, altered receptor sequestration indicating that, unlike desensitization, internalization is PKC-independent. Deletion of the C terminus prevented iloprost-induced internalization, demonstrating the critical nature of this region for sequestration. Internalization was unaltered by cotransfection of cells with G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRK)-2, -3, -5, -6, arrestin-2, or an arrestin-2 dominant negative mutant, indicating that GRKs and arrestins do not play a role in hIP trafficking. The hIP is sequestered in response to agonist activation via a PKC-independent pathway that is distinct from desensitization. Trafficking is dependent on determinants located in the C terminus, is GRK/arrestin-independent, and proceeds in part via a dynamin-dependent clathrin-coated vesicular endocytotic pathway although other dynamin-independent pathways may also be involved.