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Curr Mol Med. 2019 Dec 16. doi: 10.2174/1566524020666191216125825. [Epub ahead of print]

Single cell analysis of β2-Adrenergic receptor dynamics by quantitative fluorescence Microscopy.

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Experimental Medicine, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS), Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest family of surface proteins and are involved in the regulation of key physiological processes. GPCRs are characterized by seven transmembrane domains, an extracellular N-terminus and an intracellular C-terminus. Cellular response of these receptors to their ligands is largely determined by their surface expression and postactivation behavior including expression, desensitization and resensitization.


To develop a quantitative fluorescence Microscopy assay to study β2- Adrenergic receptor expression and desensitization.


β2-Adrenergic receptor genetically engineered to put an HA tag at the extracellular N-terminus and GFP Tag at the intracellular C-terminus. GFP fluorescence serves as a measure of total cellular expression; whereas staining with CY3 conjugated anti-HA antibodies without permeabilizing the cells represents the surface expression of β2-AR. The images are quantified and amount of CY3 (surface) and GFP (total) fluorescence for each cell determined using image processing software.


The method is sensitive and allows for the simultaneous measurement of surface and total expression of β2-AR.


A highly accurate method is described for measuring β2-AR surface and total expression based on single-cell quantitative immunofluorescence. The method can be used to determine agonist-induced desensitization and resensitization process as well as receptor kinetics like endocytosis and exocytosis of β2-Adrenergic receptor and can be applied to essentially any other GPCR.


Drug targets; GPCR; Quantitative immunoflourescence; Receptor desentization; Receptor signaling; Receptor trafficking

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