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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;45(5):1069-74. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2011-0061OC. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Agonist-promoted homologous desensitization of human airway smooth muscle bitter taste receptors.

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1
Cardiopulmonary Genomics Program, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, 21201, USA.

Abstract

Bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) were shown to be expressed in human airway smooth muscle (ASM). They couple to specialized [Ca(2+)](i) release, leading to membrane hyperpolarization, the relaxation of ASM, and marked bronchodilation. TAS2Rs are G-protein-coupled receptors, known to undergo rapid agonist-promoted desensitization that can limit therapeutic efficacy. Because TAS2Rs represent a new drug target for treating obstructive lung disease, we investigated their capacity for rapid desensitization, and assessed their potential mechanisms. The pretreatment of human ASM cells with the prototypic TAS2R agonist quinine resulted in a 31% ± 5.1% desensitization of the [Ca(2+)](i) response from a subsequent exposure to quinine. No significant change in the endothelin-stimulated [Ca(2+)](i) response was attributed to the short-term use of quinine, indicating a homologous form of desensitization. The TAS2R agonist saccharin also evoked desensitization, and cross-compound desensitization with quinine was evident. Desensitization of the [Ca(2+)](i) response was attenuated by a dynamin inhibitor, suggesting that receptor internalization (a G-protein coupled receptor kinase [GRK]-mediated, β-arrestin-mediated process) plays an integral role in the desensitization of TAS2R. Desensitization was insensitive to antagonists of the second messenger kinases protein kinase A and protein kinase C. Using intact airways, short-term, agonist-promoted TAS2R desensitization of the relaxation response was also observed. Thus these receptors, which represent a potential novel target for direct bronchodilators, undergo a modest degree of agonist-promoted desensitization that may affect clinical efficacy. Collectively, the results of these mechanistic studies, along with the multiple serines and threonines in intracellular loop 3 and the cytoplasmic tail of TAS2Rs, suggest a GRK-mediated mode of desensitization.

PMID:
21642585
PMCID:
PMC3361362
DOI:
10.1165/rcmb.2011-0061OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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