Agonist-dependent internalization and trafficking of the human prostacyclin receptor: a direct role for Rab5a GTPase

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Oct;1783(10):1914-28. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 May 2.


The human prostacyclin receptor (hIP) undergoes rapid agonist-induced internalization by largely unknown mechanism(s). Herein the involvement of Rab5 in regulating cicaprost-induced internalization of the hIP expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells was investigated. Over-expression of Rab5a significantly increased agonist-induced hIP internalization. Additionally, the hIP co-localized to Rab5a-containing endocytic vesicles in response to cicaprost stimulation and there was a coincident net translocation of Rab5 from the cytosol/soluble fraction of the cell. Co-immunoprecipitation studies confirmed a direct physical interaction between the hIP and Rab5a that was augmented by cicaprost. Whilst the dominant negative Rab5a(S34N) did not show decreased interaction with the hIP or fully impair internalization, it prevented hIP sorting to endocytic vesicles. Moreover, the GTPase deficient Rab5a(Q79L) significantly increased internalization and co-localized with the hIP in enlarged endocytic vesicles. While deletion of the carboxyl terminal (C)-tail domain of the hIP did not inhibit agonist-induced internalization, co-localization or co-immunoprecipitation with Rab5a per se, receptor trafficking was altered suggesting that it contains structural determinant(s) for hIP sorting post Rab5-mediated endocytosis. Taken together, data herein and in endothelial EA.hy 926 cells demonstrate a direct role for Rab5a in agonist-internalization and trafficking of the hIP and increases knowledge of the factors regulating prostacyclin signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Endosomes / drug effects
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Epoprostenol / analogs & derivatives
  • Epoprostenol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Receptors, Epoprostenol / agonists*
  • Receptors, Epoprostenol / metabolism*
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Epoprostenol
  • Epoprostenol
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • cicaprost