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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 14;278(11):9979-85. Epub 2003 Jan 7.

ADP-ribosylation factor-dependent phospholipase D2 activation is required for agonist-induced mu-opioid receptor endocytosis.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Otto-von-Guericke University, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.


Agonist exposure of many G protein-coupled receptors induces a rapid receptor phosphorylation and uncoupling from G proteins. Resensitization of these desensitized receptors requires endocytosis and subsequent dephosphorylation. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, the rat mu-opioid receptor (MOR1, also termed MOP) was found to be associated with phospholipase D2 (PLD2), a phospholipid-specific phosphodiesterase located in the plasma membrane, which has been implicated in the formation of endocytotic vesicles. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments in HEK293 cells coexpressing MOR1 and PLD2 confirmed that MOR1 constitutively interacts with PLD2. Treatment with the mu receptor agonist DAMGO ([d-Ala(2), Me Phe(4), Glyol(5)]enkephalin) led to an increase in PLD2 activity, whereas morphine, which does not induce MOR1 receptor internalization, failed to induce PLD2 activation. The DAMGO-mediated PLD2 activation was inhibited by brefeldin A, an inhibitor of ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) but not by the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor calphostin C indicating that opioid receptor-mediated activation of PLD2 is ARF- but not PKC-dependent. Furthermore, heterologous stimulation of PLD2 by phorbol ester led to an accelerated internalization of the mu-opioid receptor after both DAMGO and morphine exposure. Conversely the inhibition of PLD2-mediated phosphatidic acid formation by 1-butanol or overexpression of a negative mutant of PLD2 prevented agonist-mediated endocytosis of MOR1. Together, these data suggest that PLD2 play a key role in the regulation of agonist-induced endocytosis of the mu-opioid receptor.

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