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J Cell Biol. 2002 Feb 18;156(4):665-76. Epub 2002 Feb 11.

G protein-coupled receptor/arrestin3 modulation of the endocytic machinery.

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Kimmel Cancer Institute and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Nonvisual arrestins (arr) modulate G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) desensitization and internalization and bind to both clathrin (CL) and AP-2 components of the endocytic coated pit (CP). This raises the possibility that endocytosis of some GPCRs may be a consequence of arr-induced de novo CP formation. To directly test this hypothesis, we examined the behavior of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-arr3 in live cells expressing beta2-adrenergic receptors and fluorescent CL. After agonist stimulation, the diffuse GFP-arr3 signal rapidly became punctate and colocalized virtually completely with preexisting CP spots, demonstrating that activated complexes accumulate in previously formed CPs rather than nucleating new CP formation. After arr3 recruitment, CP appeared larger: electron microscopy analysis revealed an increase in both CP number and in the occurrence of clustered CPs. Mutant arr3 proteins with impaired binding to CL or AP-2 displayed reduced recruitment to CPs, but were still capable of inducing CP clustering. In contrast, though constitutively present in CPs, the COOH-terminal moiety of arr3, which contains CP binding sites but lacks receptor binding, did not induce CP clustering. Together, these results indicate that recruitment of functional arr3-GPCR complexes to CP is necessary to induce clustering. Latrunculin B or 16 degrees C blocked CP rearrangements without affecting arr3 recruitment to CP. These results and earlier studies suggest that discrete CP zones exist on cell surfaces, each capable of supporting adjacent CPs, and that the cortical actin membrane skeleton is intimately involved with both the maintenance of existing CPs and the generation of new structures.

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