Despite coupling to the same class of inhibitory G proteins and binding the same physiological ligand, the human A(1) and rat A(3) adenosine receptors (ARs) desensitize at different rates in response to sustained agonist exposure. This is due to the ability of the A(3)AR, but not the A(1)AR, to serve as a substrate for rapid phosphorylation and desensitization by members of the G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK) family. The aim of this study was to investigate whether these differences were also manifested in their abilities to undergo agonist-dependent receptor internalization. For the first time, we report that A(3)ARs internalize profoundly in response to short-term exposure to agonist but not activators of second messenger-regulated kinases. The A(3)AR-selective antagonist MRS1523 blocked both A(3)AR phosphorylation and internalization. Moreover, in contrast to the A(1)AR, which internalized quite slowly (t(1/2) = 90 min), A(3)ARs internalized rapidly (t(1/2) = 10 min) over a time frame that followed the onset of receptor phosphorylation. A nonphosphorylated A(3)AR mutant failed to internalize over a 60-min time course, suggesting that receptor phosphorylation was essential for rapid A(3)AR internalization to occur. In addition, fusion onto the A(1)AR of the A(3)AR C-terminal domain containing the sites for phosphorylation by GRKs conferred rapid agonist-induced internalization kinetics (t(1/2) = 10 min) on the resulting chimeric AR. In conclusion, these data suggest that GRK-stimulated phosphorylation of threonine residues within the C-terminal domain of the A(3)AR is obligatory to observe rapid agonist-mediated internalization of the receptor.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2000|