Super-Resolution Imaging of G Protein-Coupled Receptors Using Ground State Depletion Microscopy

  • Fabiana A. Caetano Crowley
  • Bryan Heit
  • Stephen S. G. FergusonEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1947)


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) comprise the largest family of integral membrane proteins, which are coupled to heterotrimeric G proteins to influence cell signaling. Subsequent to G protein activation, agonist-stimulated G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK) phosphorylation results in the recruitment of β-arrestin proteins, which form both stable and unstable complexes with GPCRs. β-Arrestins when bound to GPCRs not only contribute to the uncoupling of G protein signaling but also to the redistribution of GPCRs to clathrin-coated pits via their association with both clathrin and β2-adaptin facilitating GPCR endocytosis. This allows β-arrestins to couple GPCRs to additional cell signaling proteins allowing a second wave of receptor signaling. Importantly, the β-arrestin-regulated subcellular localization of these complexes also plays a critical role in regulating how these signals are transduced and which proteins are recruited. Here, we describe a methodology for assessing the GPCR subcellular localization by super-resolution microscopy and suggest that this methodology can be extended to the study of GPCR/protein complexes.

Key words

β-Arrestin RalGDS Green fluorescent protein G protein-coupled receptor Ground state depletion microscopy Translocation Endocytosis Agonist 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabiana A. Caetano Crowley
    • 1
  • Bryan Heit
    • 2
  • Stephen S. G. Ferguson
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research InstituteUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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