Cholinergic dysfunction plays a critical role in a number of disease states, and the loss of functional muscarinic acetylcholine receptors plays a key role in disease pathogenesis. Therefore, preventing receptor downregulation would maintain functional receptor number, and be predicted to alleviate symptoms. However, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying muscarinic receptor downregulation are currently unknown. Here we demonstrate that the M2 muscarinic receptor undergoes rapid lysosomal proteolysis, and this lysosomal trafficking is facilitated by ubiquitination of the receptor. Importantly, we show that this trafficking is driven specifically by ESCRT mediated involution. Critically, we provide evidence that disruption of this process leads to a re-routing of the trafficking of the M2 receptor away from the lysosome and into recycling pathway, and eventually back to the plasma membrane. This study is the first to identify the process by which the M2 muscarinic receptor undergoes endocytic sorting, and critically reveals a regulatory checkpoint that represents a target to pharmacologically increase the number of functional muscarinic receptors within the central nervous system.
- Muscarinic Receptor
- Muscarinic receptor