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J Immunol. 2011 Jan 15;186(2):951-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002019. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Gα13 and Rho mediate endosomal trafficking of CXCR4 into Rab11+ vesicles upon stromal cell-derived factor-1 stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


CXCR4, like other G protein-coupled receptors, signals via heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) to regulate gene transcription, migration, development, growth, and transformation. We describe a formerly uncharacterized function of a G protein: a role in receptor trafficking. We previously showed that CXCR4 and the TCR physically associate and form a heterodimer upon stromal cell-derived factor-1 or CXCL12 (SDF-1) stimulation in human T cells to prolong ERK activation and, thereby, lead to gene upregulation and cytokine secretion. The CXCR4-TCR heterodimers occur on the cell surface and in an intracellular compartment in response to SDF-1. Neither the intracellular compartment to which the CXCR4-TCR heterodimers localize nor the mechanism for localization has been elucidated. In this article, we characterize molecular mechanisms required for postendocytic trafficking of CXCR4. Upon SDF-1 stimulation, CXCR4 localizes to Rab11(+) vesicles, a recycling compartment near the microtubule organizing center and Golgi apparatus. This trafficking requires the CXCR4 C-terminal tail domain but not the CXCR4 ubiquitination sites. The TCR also constitutively localizes to this Rab11(+) compartment. Trafficking of CXCR4 into the Rab11(+), TCR-containing endosomes requires actin polymerization. Furthermore, inhibiting Rho activation or depleting Gα13 prevented trafficking of CXCR4 into the Rab11(+) endosomes without hindering the ability of CXCR4 to endocytose. These results indicated that, upon SDF-1 treatment, Gα13 and Rho mediate the actin polymerization necessary for trafficking CXCR4 into the Rab11(+), recycling endosomal compartment, which also contains constitutively recycling TCR and, thus, CXCR4-TCR heterodimers. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Gα13 as a mediator of receptor trafficking.

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