Agonists and phorbol esters desensitize beta-adrenergic receptors by different mechanisms.

M. L. Toews, M. Liang, J. P. Perkins

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30 Scopus citations


Exposure of 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells to the protein kinase C (PKC) activator phorbol 12-myristate, 13-acetate (PMA) led to a rapid and concentration-dependent decrease in isoproterenol (ISO)-stimulated adenylate cyclase (AC) activity in cell lysates. This desensitization of beta-adrenergic receptor (BAR) function was mimicked by mezerein, which also activates PKC, but not by 4-O-methyl-PMA, which is a very weak activator of PKC. Pretreatment with PMA led to desensitization of AC activity stimulated by ISO and by prostaglandin E1, in contrast to the beta-receptor-specific desensitization induced by ISO. Stimulation of AC activity by forskolin and by fluoride remained unaltered. The extent of desensitization observed with PMA plus ISO was greater than with either agent alone. Desensitization with PMA did not result in internalization of BAR, as assessed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation assays and by assays of competition by the hydrophilic ligand ISO for radioligand binding to intact cell receptors. PMA pretreatment did not alter the apparent affinity of the agonist ISO for intact cell BAR, nor was the potency of ISO for stimulation of AC activity altered. The protein kinase inhibitor H7 [1-(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-methylpiperazine] inhibited the desensitization induced by PMA but not that induced by ISO. These results indicate that activation of PKC can lead to desensitization of receptor-stimulated AC activity but that agonist-induced desensitization of BAR-stimulated AC activity occurs by a different mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-742
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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