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L Iacovelli, L Capobianco, GM D'Ancona, A Picascia, and A De Blasi

Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a naturally occurring phospholipid that activates a variety of biological activities including cell proliferation. Three mammalian LPA receptor (LPAr) subtypes have been identified by molecular cloning, named lp(A1), lp(A2) and lp(A3), that are coupled to heterotrimeric G-proteins for signal transduction. The LPAr are endogenously expressed in the rat thyroid cell line FRTL-5 and we used the FRTL-5 cells permanently transfected to obtain moderate overexpression of G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 (GRK2) or beta-arrestin1 to study whether GRK2 and beta-arrestin1 desensitise LPAr-mediated signalling and regulate LPA-stimulated functional effects. Using RT-PCR we documented that lp(A1), lp(A2) and lp(A3) receptors are all expressed in FRTL-5 cells. We then analysed the signal transduction of the LPAr in FRTL-5 cells. Exposure to LPA did not stimulate inositol phosphate formation nor cAMP accumulation but reduced forskolin-stimulated cAMP. LPA was also able to stimulate MAP kinase activation and this effect was abolished by pertussis toxin pretreatment. These results suggest that LPAr are mainly coupled to a pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein in FRTL-5 cells. In order to investigate whether GRKs and arrestins are involved in the regulation of LPAr-mediated signalling, we used the FRTL-5 cell line permanently transfected to overexpress GRK2 (named L5GRK2 cells) or beta-arrestin1 (L5betaarr1 cells). The ability of LPA to inhibit forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation was blunted in L5GRK2 and more markedly in L5betaarr1. The MAP kinase activation was also blunted in L5GRK2 and in L5betaarr1B cells. Exposure to 20 microM LPA increased the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases ERK1/2 by approximately 3-fold in L5pBJI cells (FRTL-5 cells transfected with the empty vector pBJI) while it induced a modest increase in L5betaarr1 and was ineffective in L5GRK2. We measured [3H]thymidine uptake in L5betaarr1B and in L5 GRK2 cells to test whether GRK2 and beta-arrestin1 could have a role in the regulation of LPAr-mediated cell proliferation. The mitogenic response induced by 35 microM LPA was substantially blunted in L5betaarr1 (-69+/-6%) and in L5GRK2 (-69.8+/-4.5%) cells as compared with L5pBJI. Our findings document that the receptor-mediated responses elicited by LPA are regulated by GRK2 and beta-arrestin1 in FRTL-5 cells and indicate that this mechanism is potentially important for the control of the LPA-stimulated proliferative response.

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M Storto, M Sallese, L Salvatore, R Poulet, DF Condorelli, P Dell'Albani, MF Marcello, R Romeo, P Piomboni, N Barone, F Nicoletti, and A De Blasi

The G protein-coupled receptor kinase type 4 mediates the homologous desensitisation of type-1 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu1) receptors and is predominantly expressed in the testis. Hence, we searched for the expression of mGlu1 or other mGlu receptor subtypes in rat and human testes. RT-PCR analysis showed the presence of mGlu1, -4 and -5 (but not -2 or -3) receptor mRNA in the rat testis. The presence of mGlu1 and -5 (but not mGlu2/3) receptor proteins was also demonstrated by Western blot analysis. In the rat testis, both mGlu1a and -5 receptors were highly expressed in cells of the germinal line. It is likely that these receptors are functional, because the agonist, (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid, was able to stimulate inositol phospholipid hydrolysis in slices prepared from rat testes. Immunocytochemical analysis of bioptic samples from human testes showed a high expression of mGlu5 receptors inside the seminiferous tubuli, whereas mGlu1a immunoreactivity was restricted to intertubular spaces. mGlu5 receptors were also present in mature spermatozoa, where they were localised in the mid-piece and tail. This localisation coincided with that of beta-arrestin, a protein that is critically involved in the homologous desensitisation and internalisation of G protein-coupled receptors. Taken collectively, these results offer the first evidence for the expression of any glutamate receptor in testes, and suggest that at least mGlu5 receptors are present and functionally active in mature human sperm.