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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 9;279(28):29628-38. Epub 2004 May 4.

Identification of a trafficking motif involved in the stabilization and polarization of P2X receptors.

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  • 1Département de Pharmacologie, Laboratoire de Génomique Fonctionnelle, CNRS UPR2580, 141 Rue de la Cardonille, 34396 Montpellier, France.


Extracellular ATP-gated channels (P2X receptors) define the third major family of ionotropic receptors, and they are expressed widely in nerve cells, muscles, and endocrine and exocrine glands. P2X subunits have two membrane-spanning domains, and a receptor is thought to be formed by oligomerization of three subunits. We have identified a conserved motif in the cytoplasmic C termini of P2X subunits that is necessary for their surface expression; mutations in this motif result in a marked reduction of the receptors at the plasma membrane because of a rapid internalization. Transfer of the motif to a reporter protein (CD(4)) enhances the surface expression of the chimera, indicating that this motif is likely involved in the stabilization of P2X receptor at the cell surface. In neurons, mutated P2X(2) subunits showed reduced membrane expression and an altered axodendritic distribution. This motif is also present in intracellular regions of other membrane proteins, such as in the third intracellular loop of some G protein-coupled receptors, suggesting that it might be involve in their cellular stabilization and polarization.

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