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EMBO J. Aug 1, 1997; 16(15): 4606–4616.
PMCID: PMC1170087

Molecular mechanism of desensitization of the chemokine receptor CCR-5: receptor signaling and internalization are dissociable from its role as an HIV-1 co-receptor.

Abstract

The chemokine receptor, CCR-5, a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) which mediates chemotactic responses of certain leukocytes, has been shown to serve as the primary co-receptor for macrophage-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here we describe functional coupling of CCR-5 to inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP formation via a pertussis toxin-sensitive G(i) protein mechanism in transfected HEK 293 cells. In response to chemokines, CCR-5 was desensitized, phosphorylated and sequestered like a prototypic GPCR only following overexpression of G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and beta-arrestins in HEK 293 cells. The lack of CCR-5 desensitization in HEK 293 cells in the absence of GRK overexpression suggests that differences in cellular complements of GRK and/or beta-arrestin proteins could represent an important mechanism determining cellular responsiveness. When tested, the activity of CCR-5 as an HIV-1 co-receptor was dependent neither upon its ability to signal nor its ability to be desensitized and internalized following agonist stimulation. Thus, while chemokine-promoted cellular signaling, phosphorylation and internalization of CCR-5 may play an important role in regulation of chemotactic responses in leukocytes, these functions are dissociable from its HIV-1 co-receptor function.

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