Antibody tracking demonstrates cell type-specific and ligand-independent internalization of guanylyl cyclase A and natriuretic peptide receptor C

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) binds guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) and natriuretic peptide receptor-C (NPR-C). Internalization of GC-A and NPR-C is poorly understood, in part, because previous studies used 125I-ANP binding to track these receptors, which are expressed in the same cell. Here, we evaluated GC-A and NPR-C internalization using traditional and novel approaches. Although HeLa cells endogenously express GC-A, 125I-ANP binding and cross-linking studies only detected NPR-C, raising the possibility that past studies ascribed NPRC-mediated processes to GC-A. To specifically measure internalization of a single receptor, we developed an 125I-IgG-binding assay that tracks extracellular FLAG-tagged versions of GC-A and NPR-C independently of each other and ligand for the first time. FLAG-GC-A bound ANP identically with wild-type GC-A and was internalized slowly (0.5%/min), whereas FLAGNPR-C was internalized rapidly (2.5%/min) in HeLa cells. In 293 cells, 125I-ANP and 125I-IgG uptake curves were superimposable because these cells only express a single ANP receptor. Basal internalization of both receptors was 8-fold higher in 293 compared with HeLa cells and ANP did not increase internalization of FLAG-GC-A. For FLAG-NPR-C, neither ANP, BNP, nor CNP increased its internalization in either cell line. Prolonged ANP exposure concomitantly reduced surface and total GC-A levels, consistent with rapid exchange of extracellular and intracellular receptor pools. We conclude that ligand binding does not stimulate natriuretic peptide receptor internalization and that cellular environment determines the rate of this process. We further deduce that NPR-C is internalized faster than GC-A and that increased internalization is not required for GC-A down-regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011


Cite this