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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Dec;59(12):2172-83.

Agonist-induced internalization and desensitization of the human nociceptin receptor expressed in CHO cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Bologna, Irnerio 48, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


In this study, we examined agonist-induced internalization, recycling and signalling (measure of cAMP levels) of the cloned human nociceptin receptor (hNOP) expressed in CHO-K1 cells. Internalization was proven by a receptor-binding assay on viable cells. The agonist nociceptin/orphanin FQ (NC) promoted rapid internalization of the hNOP receptor (approximately 78% of cell surface receptors were lost after 2 min exposure to 1 microM NC) in a clathrin- and ATP-dependent manner. Internalization was more rapid and marked in CHO-K1 cells than, as we previously reported, in SK-N-BE cells. This difference may be related to higher levels of beta-arrestin isoforms detected in CHO-K1 than in SK-N-BE cells. hNOP receptor internalization was partially reversible and recycling occurred in the presence of the agonist; receptor recycling was dependent on okadaic acid-sensitive phosphatases and was blocked by monensin. Confocal microscopy analysis confirmed the internalization and the recycling back to the plasma membrane of an epitope-tagged hNOP receptor expressed in CHO-K1 cells. These receptors underwent rapid desensitization upon agonist challenge: NC efficacy in inhibiting forskolin-stimulated cAMP production was significantly reduced 10 min after exposure and correlated with the rate of receptor internalization. Moreover, we observed that blockade of hNOP receptor recycling by monensin would cause a more prolonged and relevant desensitization of this receptor. Thus, the dynamic cycle between hNOP receptor activation, internalization and recycling determines the activity of this receptor on the cell surface.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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