The chemokine receptor CXCR7 binds CXCL11 and CXCL12 with high affinity, chemokines that were previously thought to bind exclusively to CXCR4 and CXCR3, respectively. Expression of CXCR7 has been associated with cardiac development as well as with tumor growth and progression. Despite having all the canonical features of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the signalling pathways following CXCR7 activation remain controversial, since unlike typical chemokine receptors, CXCR7 fails to activate Ga i-proteins. CXCR7 has recently been shown to interact with ?-arrestins and such interaction has been suggested to be responsible for G protein-independent signals through ERK-1/2 phosphorylation. Signal transduction by CXCR7 is controlled at the membrane by the process of GPCR trafficking. In the present study we investigated the regulatory processes triggered by CXCR7 activation as well as the molecular interactions that participate in such processes. We show that, CXCR7 internalizes and recycles back to the cell surface after agonist exposure, and that internalization is not only ?-arrestin-mediated but also dependent on the Serine/Threonine residues at the C-terminus of the receptor. Furthermore we describe, for the first time, the constitutive ubiquitination of CXCR7. Such ubiquitination is a key modification responsible for the correct trafficking of CXCR7 from and to the plasma membrane. Moreover, we found that CXCR7 is reversibly de-ubiquitinated upon treatment with CXCL12. Finally, we have also identified the Lysine residues at the C-terminus of CXCR7 to be essential for receptor cell surface delivery. Together these data demonstrate the differential regulation of CXCR7 compared to the related CXCR3 and CXCR4 receptors, and highlight the importance of understanding the molecular determinants responsible for this process.
Canals, M., Scholten, D. J., de Munnik, S., Han, M. K. L., Smit, M. J., & Leurs, R. (2012). Ubiquitination of CXCR7 controls receptor trafficking. PLoS ONE, 7(3), [e34192]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034192