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Biochem Soc Trans. 2003 Dec;31(Pt 6):1191-7.

Protease-activated receptor 2: activation, signalling and function.

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  • 1Departments of Surgery and Physiology, University of California-San Francisco, 521 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0660, U.S.A.


PARs (protease-activated receptors) are a family of four G-protein-coupled receptors for proteases from the circulation, inflammatory cells and epithelial tissues. This report focuses on PAR(2), which plays an important role in inflammation and pain. Pancreatic (trypsin I and II) and extrapancreatic (trypsin IV) trypsins, mast cell tryptase and coagulation factors VIIa and Xa cleave and activate PAR(2). Proteases cleave PAR(2) to expose a tethered ligand that binds to the cleaved receptor. Despite this irreversible activation, PAR(2) signalling is attenuated by beta-arrestin-mediated desensitization and endocytosis, and by lysosomal targeting and degradation, which requires ubiquitination of PAR(2). beta-Arrestins also act as scaffolds for the assembly of multi-protein signalling complexes that determine the location and function of activated mitogen-activated protein kinases. Observations of PAR(2)-deficient mice support a role for PAR(2) in inflammation, and many of the effects of PAR(2) activators promote inflammation. Inflammation is mediated in part by activation of PAR(2) in the peripheral nervous system, which results in neurogenic inflammation and hyperalgesia.

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