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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of agonist-induced motilin receptor trafficking and its implications for tachyphylaxis.

The motilin receptor (MR) is a member of the seven-transmembrane receptor family and is expressed throughout the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other species. Motilin, the natural MR peptide ligand, has profound stimulatory effects on gastrointestinal contractility, indicating a therapeutic potential for MR modulators. However, long-term clinical use of certain MR agonists is limited by tachyphylaxis, a reduced responsiveness to repeated compound exposure. This study was meant to characterize the ligand-induced endocytosis of MR and to test whether receptor trafficking contributes to tachyphylaxis. A cell-based assay was developed by fusing a green fluorescent protein (GFP) moiety to the motilin receptor, and high-content biology instrumentation was used to quantify time and dose dependence of MR-GFP endocytosis. Maximal internalization of MR-GFP was induced after 45 min of constant exposure to 80 nM motilin. This process was disrupted by nocodazole, suggesting an essential role for microtubules. Internalized MR-GFP vesicles disappeared within 15 to 45 min of motilin withdrawal but did not overlap with the lysosomal compartment, indicating that MR-GFP escaped degradation and was recycled back to the plasma membrane. It is noteworthy that the kinetics of MR-GFP redistribution varied substantially when stimulated with motilin, erythromycin, 6,9-hemiacetal 8,9-anhydro-4''-deoxy-3'-N-desmethyl-3'-N-ethylerythromycin B (ABT-229), or N-[(1S)-1-[[[(1S)-1-(aminocarbonyl)-3-phenylpropyl]amino]carbonyl]-3-phenylpropyl]-2'-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-ylmethyl)tetrahydro-1',3'-dioxo-spiro[piperidine-4,5'(6'H)-[1H][1,2,4]triazolo[1,2-a]pyridazine]-8'-carboxamide (BMS-591348) at equipotent doses for Ca(2+)-mobilization. Retardation of the intracellular MR-GFP sorting cycle seemed to correlate with the tachyphylaxis-inducing properties of each compound, but not its EC(50). These results indicate that MR internalization, desensitization, and resensitization are ligand-dependent and that appropriate screening strategies may enable the development of small molecule agonists with ideal combinations of these distinct properties.[1]


  1. Characterization of agonist-induced motilin receptor trafficking and its implications for tachyphylaxis. Lamian, V., Rich, A., Ma, Z., Li, J., Seethala, R., Gordon, D., Dubaquie, Y. Mol. Pharmacol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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