Recycling and Resensitization of Delta Opioid Receptors

Trapaidze, N.; Gomes, I.; Bansinath, M.; Devi, L.A.
April 2000
DNA & Cell Biology;Apr2000, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p195
Academic Journal
Exposure to opioids results in the activation of opioid receptors; this is followed by receptor endocytosis. Previously, we showed that delta opioid receptors undergo rapid agonist-mediated internalization and that mutations in the C-tail result in a substantial loss of agonist-mediated internalization. In this study, we investigated the fate of receptors following rapid internalization. We found that the majority of the wild type receptors recycled back to the surface after acute agonist treatment. The kinetics of internalization and recycling of the receptor were virtually identical to the kinetics of internalization and recycling of the radiolabeled agonist. In contrast, the kinetics of internalization and recycling of a C-tail mutant receptor were substantially altered, suggesting an involvement of the C-tail in the recycling process. It is possible that in addition to agonist-mediated internalization, opioid receptors undergo constitutive, agonist-independent internalization. We directly examined this possibility using an antibody-prebinding assay. The wild type delta opioid receptors exhibited agonist-independent internalization via the clathrin-coated pit pathway. We also examined the role of receptor internalization and recycling in the modulation of its function by quantitating the level of opioid-stimulated phosphorylation of MAP kinase (MAPK) under conditions of receptor internalization and recycling. We found that agonist treatment caused a rapid increase in the level of phosphorylated MAPK that was rapidly desensitized. The removal of the agonist, which results in receptor recycling, led to the resensitization of the receptor, as evidenced by the agonist’s ability to reinduce MAPK phosphorylation. Mutant receptors that underwent rapid recycling exhibited enhanced resensitization, suggesting a role for receptor recycling in the resensitization process. Taken together, these results indicate that agonist-mediated internalization and recycling modulate opioid receptor function and that the receptor C-tail plays an important role in both processes.


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