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Methods Enzymol. 2013;521:171-87. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-391862-8.00009-0.

Systematic and quantitative analysis of G protein-coupled receptor trafficking motifs.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia/CCM, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, California, USA.


Plasma membrane expression of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is a dynamic process balancing anterograde and retrograde trafficking. Multiple interrelated cellular processes determine the final level of cell surface expression, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) export/retention, receptor internalization, recycling, and degradation. These processes are highly regulated to achieve specific localization to subcellular domains (e.g., dendrites or basolateral membranes) and to affect receptor signaling. Analysis of potential ER trafficking motifs within GPCRs requires careful consideration of intracellular dynamics, such as protein folding, ER export and retention, and glycosylation. This chapter presents an approach and methods for qualitative and quantitative assessment of these processes to aid in accurate identification of GPCR trafficking motifs, utilizing the analysis of a hydrophobic extracellular trafficking motif in α2C adrenergic receptors as a model system.

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