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Mol Endocrinol. 2008 Mar;22(3):689-706. Epub 2007 Nov 29.

Intracellular mechanisms regulating corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-2beta endocytosis and interaction with extracellularly regulated kinase 1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascades.

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  • 1Endocrinology and Metabolism, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom.


Many important physiological roles of the urocortin (UCN) family of peptides as well as CRH involve the type 2 CRH receptor (CRH-R2) and downstream activation of multiple pathways. To characterize molecular determinants of CRH-R2 functional activity, we used HEK293 cells overexpressing recombinant CRH-R2beta and investigated mechanisms involved in attenuation of CRH-R2 signaling activity and uncoupling from intracellular effectors. CRH-R2beta-mediated adenylyl cyclase activation was sensitive to homologous desensitization induced by pretreatment with either UCN-II or the weaker agonist CRH. CRH-R2beta activation induced transient beta-arrestin1 and beta-arrestin2, as well as clathrin, recruitment to the plasma membrane. Beta-arrestin2 appeared to be the main beta-arrestin subtype associated with the receptor. This was followed by CRH-R2beta endocytosis in a mechanism that exhibited distinct agonist-dependent temporal characteristics. CRH-R2beta also induced transient activation of the ERK1/2 and p38MAPK signaling cascades that peaked at 5 min and returned to basal within 20-30 min. Unlike p38MAPK, activated ERK1/2 was localized both in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Experiments employing inhibitors of receptor endocytosis showed that CRH-R2beta-MAPK interaction does not require beta-arrestin, clathrin, or receptor endocytosis. Site-directed mutagenesis studies on CRH-R2beta C terminus showed that the amino acid cassette TAAV at the end of the C terminus is important for CRH-R2beta signaling because loss of a potential phospho-acceptor site in mutant receptors containing deletion or Ala substitution of the cassette TAAV resulted in reduced ERK1/2 activation and accelerated receptor internalization. These findings provide new insights about the signaling mechanisms regulating CRH-R2beta functional activity and determining its biological responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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