Molecular mechanisms of receptor desensitization using the beta-adrenergic receptor-coupled adenylate cyclase system as a model

Nature. 1985 Sep;317(6033):124-9. doi: 10.1038/317124a0.


Desensitization, the tendency of biological responses to wane over time despite the continuous presence of a stimulus of constant intensity, is observed in organisms as diverse as bacteria and mammals. Recently, new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying these phenomena have emerged from the study of the receptors coupled to the ubiquitous second messenger-generating system adenylate cyclase. These mechanisms involve sequestration or down-regulation of the receptors from the cell surface as well as functionally significant covalent modifications of the receptors and/or guanine nucleotide regulatory proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / metabolism*
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Adenylyl Cyclases