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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2004 Nov;36(11):2153-68.

Internalization and trafficking of neurotensin via NTS3 receptors in HT29 cells.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Que., Canada H3A 2B4.


The neurotensin receptor-3, originally identified as sortilin, is unique among neuropeptide receptors in that it is a single trans-membrane domain, type I receptor. To gain insight into the functionality of neurotensin receptor-3, we examined the neurotensin-induced intracellular trafficking of this receptor in the human carcinoma cell line HT29, which expresses both neurotensin receptor-1 and -3 sub-types. At steady state, neurotensin receptor-3 was found by sub-cellular fractionation and electron microscopic techniques to be predominantly associated with intracellular elements. A small proportion (approximately 10%) was associated with the plasma membrane, but a significant amount (approximately 25%) was observed inside the nucleus. Following stimulation with neurotensin (NT), neurotensin/neurotensin receptor-3 complexes were internalized via the endosomal pathway. This internalization entailed no detectable loss of cell surface receptors, suggesting compensation through either recycling or intracellular receptor recruitment mechanisms. Internalized ligand and receptors were both sorted to the pericentriolar recycling endosome/Trans-Golgi Network (TGN), indicating that internalized neurotensin is sorted to this compartment via neurotensin receptor-3. Furthermore, within the Trans-Golgi Network, neurotensin was bound to a lower molecular form of the receptor than at the cell surface or in early endosomes, suggesting that signaling and transport functions of neurotensin receptor-3 may be mediated through different molecular forms of the protein. In conclusion, the present work suggests that the neurotensin receptor-3 exists in two distinct forms in HT29 cells: a high molecular weight, membrane-associated form responsible for neurotensin endocytosis from the cell surface and a lower molecular weight, intracellular form responsible for the sorting of internalized neurotensin to the Trans-Golgi Network.

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