Subcellular distribution of beta 2-adrenergic receptors delineated with quantitative ultrastructural autoradiography of radioligand binding sites.
beta-Adrenergic receptors play a critical role in signal transduction in the cardiovascular system. Regulation of beta-adrenergic receptor expression depends on multiple factors, including rates of synthesis and degradation of receptor protein and trafficking of receptors between the cell surface and putative intracellular compartments. To characterize the subcellular distribution of beta-adrenergic receptors and to delineate the ultrastructure of intracellular compartments in which adrenergic receptors reside in the steady state, we studied Chinese hamster fibroblast cells transfected with the human beta 2-adrenergic receptor gene. beta 2-Adrenergic receptors of these cells were covalently labeled with the lipophilic photoactivatable antagonist [125I]iodocyanopindolol diazarine, and specific radioligand binding sites were localized at the ultrastructural level of resolution with quantitative electron microscopic autoradiography. The density of beta 2-adrenergic receptors was approximately 100-fold greater in the plasmalemma than in any other compartment. Approximately 50% of total cellular receptors were identified on the cell surface in an apparently random, nonclustered distribution and without association with clathrin-coated pits or other cell surface structural specializations. The remaining receptors were distributed among intracellular membranous compartments, including smooth vesicles, rough endoplasmic reticulum, and the Golgi apparatus, organelles presumably involved in stages of receptor synthesis, degradation, or trafficking. In the basal state, there was no association of beta 2-adrenergic receptors with coated intracellular vesicles typical of the endocytotic pathway of selected cell surface receptors that function to internalize their extracellular ligands. These results are the first to rigorously quantify the subcellular distribution of beta-adrenergic receptors and unequivocally establish the presence of a substantial pool of intracellular receptors.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association