Endocytosis and recycling of G protein-coupled receptors

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1997 Aug;18(8):276-87. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(97)01091-2.


Agonist stimulation of G protein-coupled receptors causes a dramatic reorganization of their intracellular distribution. Activation of receptors triggers receptor endocytosis and, since receptors recycle back to the surface continuously, a new steady state is reached where a significant proportion of receptors is located internally. Although this movement of receptors is remarkable, its role has been enigmatic. Recent developments have provided insight into the compartments through which the receptors move, the nature of the signals that trigger receptor translocation, and the significance of receptor cycling for cell function. In this article, Jennifer Koenig and Michael Edwardson review recent progress in this field and place receptor cycling into a mathematical framework that reveals the extent and rate of intracellular receptor movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • GTP-Binding Proteins