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Scientific reports

Unraveling a molecular determinant for clathrin-independent internalization of the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor.


PMID 26094760

Abstract

Endocytosis and postendocytic sorting of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is important for the regulation of both their cell surface density and signaling profile. Unlike the mechanisms of clathrin-dependent endocytosis (CDE), the mechanisms underlying the control of GPCR signaling by clathrin-independent endocytosis (CIE) remain largely unknown. Among the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs), the M4 mAChR undergoes CDE and recycling, whereas the M2 mAChR is internalized through CIE and targeted to lysosomes. Here we investigated the endocytosis and postendocytic trafficking of M2 mAChR based on a comparative analysis of the third cytoplasmic domain in M2 and M4 mAChRs. For the first time, we identified that the sequence (374)KKKPPPS(380) servers as a sorting signal for the clathrin-independent internalization of M2 mAChR. Switching (374)KKKPPPS(380) to the i3 loop of the M4 mAChR shifted the receptor into lysosomes through the CIE pathway; and therefore away from CDE and recycling. We also found another previously unidentified sequence that guides CDE of the M2 mAChR, (361)VARKIVKMTKQPA(373), which is normally masked in the presence of the downstream sequence (374)KKKPPPS(380). Taken together, our data indicate that endocytosis and postendocytic sorting of GPCRs that undergo CIE could be sequence-dependent.

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