Among the multiple G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) endocytic pathways, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) and caveolar endocytosis are more extensively characterized than other endocytic pathways. A number of endocytic inhibitors have been used to block CME; however, systemic studies to determine the selectivity of these inhibitors are needed. Clathrin heavy chain or caveolin1-knockdown cells have been employed to determine the specificity of various chemical and molecular biological tools for CME and caveolar endocytosis. Sucrose, concanavalin A, and dominant negative mutants of dynamin blocked other endocytic pathways, in addition to CME. In particular, concanavalin A nonspecifically interfered with the signaling of several GPCRs tested in the study. Decreased pH, monodansylcadaverine, and dominant negative mutants of epsin were more specific for CME than other treatments were. A recently introduced CME inhibitor, Pitstop2™, showed only marginal selectivity for CME and interfered with receptor expression on the cell surface. Blockade of receptor endocytosis by epsin mutants and knockdown of the clathrin heavy chain enhanced the β2AR-mediated ERK activation. Overall, our studies show that previous experimental results should be interpreted with discretion if they included the use of endocytic inhibitors that were previously thought to be CME-selective. In addition, our study shows that endocytosis of β2 adrenoceptor through clathrin-mediated pathway has negative effects on ERK activation.
Keywords: Caveolae; Clathrin; Endocytosis; GPCR; RNA interference.
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