Internalization of G protein-coupled receptors in single olfactory receptor neurons

Michele L. Rankin, Louisiana State University
Rebecca S. Alvania, Louisiana State University
Evanna L. Gleason, Louisiana State University
Richard C. Bruch, Louisiana State University


Desensitization of many G protein-coupled receptors after ligand binding generally involves phosphorylation of the receptors and internalization of the ligand-bound, phosphorylated receptors by a clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway. Olfactory receptor neurons from the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) express the G protein-coupled odorant receptors and metabotropic glutamate receptors. To determine whether a clathrin-dependent receptor internalization pathway exists in olfactory receptor neurons, western blotting and immunocytochemistry were used to identify and localize clathrin and dynamin in isolated olfactory neurons. Clathrin and dynamin immunoreactivity was found in the cell bodies, dendrites, and dendritic knobs of the neurons. Using the activity-dependent fluorescent dye FM1-43 to monitor receptor internalization, we show that single olfactory neurons stimulated with the odorant amino acid L-glutamate internalized the dye. Odorant-stimulated neurons showed a consistent pattern of internalized FM1- 43 fluorescence localized in the cell bodies and dendritic knobs. Odorant- stimulated internalization was unaffected by the caveolae activator okadaic acid and was significantly decreased by a metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonist, suggesting that a functional, clathrin-dependent, receptor- mediated internalization pathway exists in olfactory receptor neurons.