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Elife. 2019 Apr 30;8. pii: e44252. doi: 10.7554/eLife.44252.

The C-terminal helix 9 motif in rat cannabinoid receptor type 1 regulates axonal trafficking and surface expression.

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School of Biochemistry, Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.


Cannabinoid type one receptor (CB1R) is only stably surface expressed in axons, where it downregulates neurotransmitter release. How this tightly regulated axonal surface polarity is established and maintained is unclear. To address this question, we used time-resolved imaging to determine the trafficking of CB1R from biosynthesis to mature polarised localisation in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. We show that the secretory pathway delivery of CB1R is axonally biased and that surface expressed CB1R is more stable in axons than in dendrites. This dual mechanism is mediated by the CB1R C-terminus and involves the Helix 9 (H9) domain. Removal of the H9 domain increases secretory pathway delivery to dendrites and decreases surface stability. Furthermore, CB1RΔH9 is more sensitive to agonist-induced internalisation and less efficient at downstream signalling than CB1RWT. Together, these results shed new light on how polarity of CB1R is mediated and indicate that the C-terminal H9 domain plays key roles in this process.


axonal polarity; cannabinoid receptor type 1; neuronal culture; neuroscience; rat; receptor trafficking; secretory pathway; surface expression

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