Delineation of the endocytic pathway of substance P and its seven-transmembrane domain NK1 receptor

Eileen F. Grady, Adella M. Garland, Patrick D. Gamp, Michelle Lovett, Donald G. Payan, Nigel W. Bunnett

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Many of the actions of the neuropeptide substance P (SP) that are mediated by the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1-R) desensitize and resensitize, which may be associated with NK1-R endocytosis and recycling. We delineated this endocytic pathway in transfected cells by confocal microscopy using cyanine 3-SP and NK1-R antibodies. SP and the NK1-R were internalized into the same clathrin immunoreactive vesicles, and then sorted into different compartments. The NK1-R was colocalized with a marker of early endosomes, but not with markers of late endosomes or lysosomes. We quantified the NK1-R at the cell surface by incubating cells with an antibody to an extracellular epitope. After exposure to SP, there was a loss and subsequent recovery of surface NK1-R. The loss was prevented by hypertonic sucrose and potassium depletion, inhibitors of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Recovery was independent of new protein synthesis because it was unaffected by cycloheximide. Recovery required endosomal acidification because it was prevented by an H+-ATPase inhibitor. The fate of internalized 125I-SP was examined by chromatography. SP was intact at the cell surface and in early endosomes, but slowly degraded in perinuclear vesicles. We conclude that SP induces clathrin-dependent internalization of the NK1-R. The SP/NK1-R complex dissociates in acidified endosomes. SP is degraded, whereas the NK1-R recycles to the cell surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-524
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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