Regulation of N-formyl peptide-mediated degranulation by receptor phosphorylation.
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One of the major functions of the N-formyl peptide receptor (FPR) is to mediate leukocyte degranulation. Phosphorylation of the C-terminal domain of the FPR is required for receptor internalization and desensitization. Although arrestins mediate phosphorylation-dependent desensitization, internalization, and initiation of novel signaling cascades for a number of G protein-coupled receptors, their roles in FPR regulation and signaling remain unclear. CXCR1-mediated degranulation of RBL-2H3 cells is promoted by arrestin binding. To determine whether receptor phosphorylation or arrestin binding is required to promote FPR-mediated degranulation, we used RBL-2H3 cells stably transfected with either the wild-type FPR or a mutant form, DeltaST, which is incapable of undergoing ligand-stimulated phosphorylation. We observed that stimulation of wild-type FPR resulted in very low levels of degranulation compared with that mediated by cross-linking of the Fc(epsilon)RI receptor. Stimulation of the DeltaST mutant, however, resulted in levels of degranulation comparable to those of the Fc(epsilon)RI receptor, demonstrating that neither receptor phosphorylation nor arrestin binding was necessary to initiate FPR-mediated degranulation. Degranulation initiated by the DeltaST mutant was proportional to the level of active cell surface receptor, suggesting that either receptor internalization or desensitization may be responsible for terminating degranulation of the wild-type FPR. To distinguish between these possibilities, we used a partially phosphorylation-deficient mutant of the FPR that can undergo internalization, but not desensitization. Degranulation by this mutant FPR was indistinguishable from that of the DeltaST mutant, indicating that FPR phosphorylation or binding of arrestin but not internalization terminates the degranulation response.