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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


FERGUSON, S.S.G.. Using green fluorescent protein to understand the mechanisms of G-protein-coupled receptor regulation. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.11, pp.1471-1477. ISSN 0100-879X.

G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation is followed rapidly by adaptive changes that serve to diminish the responsiveness of a cell to further stimulation. This process, termed desensitization, is the consequence of receptor phosphorylation, arrestin binding, sequestration and down-regulation. GPCR phosphorylation is initiated within seconds to minutes of receptor activation and is mediated by both second messenger-dependent protein kinases and receptor-specific G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). Desensitization in response to GRK-mediated phosphorylation involves the binding of arrestin proteins that serve to sterically uncouple the receptor from its G protein. GPCR sequestration, the endocytosis of receptors to endosomes, not only contributes to the temporal desensitization of GPCRs, but plays a critical role in GPCR resensitization. GPCR down-regulation, a loss of the total cellular complement of receptors, is the consequence of both increased lysosomal degradation and decreased mRNA synthesis of GPCRs. While each of these agonist-mediated desensitization processes are initiated within a temporally dissociable time frame, recent data suggest that they are intimately related to one another. The use of green fluorescent protein from the jellyfish Aqueora victoria as an epitope tag with intrinsic fluorescence has facilitated our understanding of the relative relationship between GRK phosphorylation, arrestin binding, receptor sequestration and down-regulation.

Keywords : arrestin; endocytosis; green fluorescent protein; G protein-coupled receptors; G protein-coupled receptor kinases; resensitization.

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