An examination of how Rab GTPases and molecular chaperones influence plasma membrane expression of chemokine receptor dimers
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Signal termination processes of GPCRs are well established, unlike processes that regulate the assembly and intracellular trafficking of these signaling complexes. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation was used to study GPCR dimer formation in two projects. Firstly, the importance of Rab GTPases on the cell surface expression and signaling of two chemokine receptors expressed on prostate cancer cells was examined. Rab GTPases necessary for CXCR4 and CCR2 cell surface expression and signaling were different from those necessary for the CXCR4/CCR2 heterodimer. Therefore, this project emphasizes the importance of studying heterodimers as unique entities from their constituent receptors. Secondly, interactions between molecular chaperones and two coreceptors necessary for HIV infection – CCR5, a chemokine GPCR, and the main HIV receptor, CD4, a glycoprotein – were investigated. Further emphasizing the unique characteristics of GPCR dimers, this project found that molecular chaperones interact differently with CCR5 homodimers, when compared to CCR5/CD4 heterodimers.