Regulation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors by G protein-coupled receptor kinases: MGlu2 receptors are resistant to homologous desensitization

L. Iacovelli, G. Molinaro, G. Battaglia, M. Motolese, L. Di Menna, M. Alfiero, J. Blahos, F. Matrisciano, M. Corsi, C. Corti, V. Bruno, A. De Blasi, F. Nicoletti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We examined the regulation of mGlu2 and mGlu3 metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling prompted by the emerging role of these receptor subtypes as therapeutic targets for psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and schizophrenia. In transfected human embryonic kidney 293 cells, G-protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK) 2 and GRK3 fully desensitized the agonist-dependent inhibition of cAMP formation mediated by mGlu3 receptors. In contrast, GRK2 or other GRKs did not desensitize the cAMP response to mGlu2 receptor activation. Desensitiza-tion of mGlu3 receptors by GRK2 required an intact kinase activity, as shown by the use of the kinase-dead mutant GRK2-K220R or the recombinant GRK2 C-terminal domain. Overex-pression of β-arrestin1 also desensitized mGlu3 receptors and did not affect the cAMP signaling mediated by mGlu2 receptors. The difference in the regulation of mGlu2 and mGlu3 receptors was signal-dependent because GRK2 desensitized the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway mediated by both mGlu2 and mGlu3 receptors. In vivo studies confirmed the resistance of mGlu2 receptor-mediated cAMP signaling to homologous desensitization. Wild-type, mGlu2(-/-), or mGlu3(-/-) mice were treated intraperitoneally with saline or the mixed mGlu2/3 receptor agonist (-)-2-oxa-4-aminobicyclo[3.1.0]-exhane-4,6-dicarboxylic acid (LY379268; 1 mg/kg) once daily for 7 days. Inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP formation by LY379268 was measured in cortical slices prepared 24 h after the last injection. Agonist pretreatment fully desensitized the cAMP response in wild-type and mGlu2(-/-) mice but had no effect in mGlu3(-/-) mice, in which LY379268 could only activate the mGlu2 receptor. We predict the lack of tolerance when mixed mGlu2/3 receptor agonists or selective mGlu2 enhancers are used continually in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1003
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors by G protein-coupled receptor kinases: MGlu2 receptors are resistant to homologous desensitization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this