Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a member of the chemokine family of chemotactic cytokines and signals via activation of a G protein-coupled seven-transmembrane domain receptor to mediate chemotaxis. Monocyte activation is limited by desensitization and internalization of the MCP-1R, but these mechanisms are not well understood. In this study, we show that the type B MCP-1R (MCP-1RB/CCR2B) is rapidly phosphorylated and internalized in response to nanomolar concentrations of MCP-1. Co-expression of CCR2B in Xenopus oocytes with beta-adrenergic receptor kinase 2 (beta ark2), but not beta ark1 or rhodopsin kinase, specifically blocked receptor activation by MCP-1. Mutation of serine (Ser) and threonine (Thr) residues in the terminal carboxyl-tail of the receptor, which are potential targets of beta ark-mediated phosphorylation, prevented inhibition of receptor activation by beta ark2 in microinjected oocytes. Finally, a construct in which multiple Ser and Thr residues in the carboxyl-tail were changed to alanine significantly prolonged the agonist-dependent intracellular calcium flux and inhibited receptor internalization in transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK)-293 cells. These studies demonstrate that phosphorylation of Ser and Thr residues in the carboxyl-tail of CCR2B mediates receptor desensitization and internalization and may serve to limit the chemotactic response of leukocytes to MCP-1 and related chemokines.

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