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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 25;277(4):2534-46. Epub 2001 Nov 12.

The 5-hydroxytryptamine(4a) receptor is palmitoylated at two different sites, and acylation is critically involved in regulation of receptor constitutive activity.

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Abteilung Neuro- und Sinnesphysiologie, Physiologisches Institut, Universität Göttingen, Humboldtallee 23, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.


We have reported recently that the mouse 5-hydroxytryptamine(4a) (5-HT(4(a))) receptor undergoes dynamic palmitoylation (Ponimaskin, E. G., Schmidt, M. F., Heine, M., Bickmeyer, U., and Richter, D. W. (2001) Biochem. J. 353, 627-663). In the present study, conserved cysteine residues 328/329 in the carboxyl terminus of the 5-HT(4(a)) receptor were identified as potential acylation sites. In contrast to other palmitoylated G-protein-coupled receptors, the additional cysteine residue 386 positioned close to the COOH-terminal end of the receptor was also found to be palmitoylated. Using pulse and pulse-chase labeling techniques, we demonstrated that palmitoylation of individual cysteines is a reversible process and that agonist stimulation of the 5-HT(4(a)) receptor independently increases the rate of palmitate turnover for both acylation sites. Analysis of acylation-deficient mutants revealed that non-palmitoylated 5-HT(4(a)) receptors were indistinguishable from the wild type in their ability to interact with G(s), to stimulate the adenylyl cyclase activity and to activate cyclic nucleotide-sensitive cation channels after agonist stimulation. The most distinctive finding of the present study was the ability of palmitoylation to modulate the agonist-independent constitutive 5-HT(4(a)) receptor activity. We demonstrated that mutation of the proximal palmitoylation site (Cys(328) --> Ser/Cys(329) --> Ser) significantly increases the capacity of receptors to convert from the inactive (R) to the active (R*) form in the absence of agonist. In contrast, the rate of isomerization from R to R* for the Cys(386) --> Ser as well as for the triple, non-palmitoylated mutant (Cys(328) --> Ser/Cys(329) --> Ser/Cys(386) -->Ser) was similar to that obtained for the wild type.

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