G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 moderates recruitment of THP-1 cells to the endothelium by limiting histamine-invoked Weibel-Palade body exocytosis


  • Manuscript handled by: P. H. Reitsma
  • Final decision: P. H. Reitsma, 21 November 2013



G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of signaling molecules, central to the regulation of inflammatory responses. Their activation upon agonist binding is attenuated by GPCR kinases (GRKs), which desensitize the receptors through phosphorylation. G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2(GRK2) down-regulation in leukocytes has been closely linked to the progression of chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Because leukocytes must interact with the endothelium to infiltrate inflamed tissues, we hypothesized that GRK2 down-regulation in endothelial cells would also be pro-inflammatory.


To determine whether GRK2 down-regulation in endothelial cells is pro-inflammatory.


siRNA-mediated ablation of GRK2 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was used in analyses of the role of this kinase. Microscopic and biochemical analyses of Weibel-Palade body (WPB) formation and functioning, live cell imaging of calcium concentrations and video analyses of adhesion of monocyte-like THP-1 cells provide clear evidence of GRK2 function in histamine activation of endothelial cells.


G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 depletion in HUVECs increases WPB exocytosis and P-selectin-dependent adhesion of THP-1 cells to the endothelial surface upon histamine stimulation, relative to controls. Further, live imaging of intracellular calcium concentrations reveals amplified histamine receptor signaling in GRK2-depleted cells, suggesting GRK2 moderates WPB exocytosis through receptor desensitization.


G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 deficiency in endothelial cells results in increased pro-inflammatory signaling and enhanced leukocyte recruitment to activated endothelial cells. The ability of GRK2 to modulate initiation of inflammatory responses in endothelial cells as well as leukocytes now places GRK2 at the apex of control of this finely balanced process.