Agonist-independent internalization of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1a is arrestin- and clathrin-dependent and is suppressed by receptor inverse agonists


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Eamonn Kelly, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK. E-mail:


Three group I mGluR antagonists CPCCOEt, LY367385 and BAY36-7620, were analyzed for their effect on cell surface expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1a and 1b. All three antagonists inhibited glutamate-induced internalization of mGluR1a and mGluR1b. However, when added alone, either LY367385 or BAY36-7620 increased the cell surface expression of mGluR1a but not mGluR1b. Both LY367385 and BAY36-7620 displayed inverse agonist activity as judged by their ability to inhibit basal inositol phosphate accumulation in cells expressing the constitutively active mGluR1a. Interestingly, mGluR1a but not mGluR1b was constitutively internalized in HEK293 cells and both LY367385 and BAY36-7620 inhibited the constitutive internalization of this splice variant. Furthermore, coexpression of dominant negative mutant constructs of arrestin-2 [arrestin-2-(319–418)] or Eps15 [Eps15(EΔ95-295)] increased cell surface expression of mGluR1a and blocked constitutive receptor internalization. In the presence of these dominant negative mutants, incubation of cells with LY367385 and BAY36-7620 produced no further increase in cell surface expression of mGluR1a. Taken together, these results suggest that the constitutive activity of mGluR1a triggers the internalization of the receptor through an arrestin- and clathrin-dependent pathway, and that inverse agonists increase the cell surface expression of mGluR1a by promoting an inactive form of mGluR1a, which does not undergo constitutive internalization.