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Mol Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;73(4):1319-30. doi: 10.1124/mol.107.042846. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Agonist-promoted Lys63-linked polyubiquitination of the human kappa-opioid receptor is involved in receptor down-regulation.

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Department of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, 3420 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140. lliuche@temple.ed.


Ubiquitination of the human kappa opioid receptor (hKOR) expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells was observed in the presence of the proteasomal inhibitor N-benzoyloxycarbonyl (Z)-Leu-Leu-leucinal (MG132) and enhanced by the agonists (-)(trans)-3,4-dichloro-N-methyl-N-[2-(1-pyrrolidiny) cyclohexyl] benzeneacetamide (U50,488H) and dynorphin A (Dyn A). The dominant-negative (DN) mutants GRK2-K220R and beta-arrestin (319-418), but not dynamin I-K44A, reduced Dyn A-stimulated hKOR ubiquitination, and a phosphorylation-defective hKOR mutant (hKOR-S358N) did not undergo Dyn A-stimulated ubiquitination, indicating that hKOR ubiquitination is enhanced by receptor phosphorylation but not by receptor internalization. A hKOR mutant (hKOR-10 KR) in which all 10 intracellular Lys residues were changed to Arg showed greatly reduced basal and agonist-promoted receptor ubiquitination and substantially decreased Dyn A-induced receptor down-regulation, without changing ligand binding affinity, receptor-G protein coupling, or receptor internalization or desensitization. The ubiquitination sites were further determined to be the three Lys residues in the C-terminal domain. The K63R ubiquitin mutant decreased Dyn A-induced hKOR ubiquitination and down-regulation, but the K48R mutant did not. Expression of HN-CYLD, a DN mutant of deubiquitination enzyme cylindromatosis tumor suppressor gene (CYLD) that breaks Lys63-linked polyubiquitin chain, increased Dyn A-induced hKOR ubiquitination and down-regulation. These results indicate that ubiquitinated hKOR after agonist treatment contains predominantly Lys63-linked polyubiquitin chains and ubiquitination of the hKOR involved in agonist-induced down-regulation.

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