We have recently delineated three naturally occurring polymorphisms of the human beta 2-adrenergic receptor caused by missense mutations encoding for amino acids 16 and 27 of the extracellular N-terminus of the receptor. We have studied the functional consequences of these polymorphisms by site-directed mutagenesis and the recombinant expression of these receptors in Chinese hamster fibroblasts. The polymorphisms consist of substitutions of Gly for Arg at amino acid 16 (Arg16-->Gly), Glu for Gln at amino acid 27 (Gln27-->Glu), and a combination of both substitutions. All three mutated receptors displayed normal agonist binding and functional coupling to Gs, resulting in the stimulation of adenylyl cyclase activity. However, these mutations markedly altered the degree of agonist-promoted downregulation of receptor expression. After 24-h exposure to 10 microM isoproterenol, wild-type beta 2AR underwent a 26 +/- 3% reduction in receptor density. In contrast, Arg16-->Gly underwent a 41 +/- 3% reduction. Gln27-->Glu, on the other hand, was found to be completely resistant to downregulation. Arg16-->Gly+Gln27-->Glu also underwent an increased downregulation compared to wild-type beta 2AR (39 +/- 4%). The rates of new receptor synthesis after irreversible alkylation were not different between these receptors, nor were the rates of agonist-promoted receptor internalization to the intracellular pool. Gln27-->Glu cellular mRNA minimally increased during agonist exposure, and wild-type beta 2AR and the other mutated receptor mRNAs did not change, which infer that the aberrant downregulation patterns of these polymorphisms may be due to the altered degradation of receptor protein.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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