Homo- and hetero-oligomerization have been reported for several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The CXCR2 is a GPCR that is activated, among the others, by the chemokines CXCL8 (interleukin-8) and CXCL2 (growth-related gene product β) to induce cell chemotaxis. We have investigated the oligomerization of CXCR2 receptors expressed in human embryonic kidney cells and generated a series of truncated mutants to determine whether they could negatively regulate the wild-type (wt) receptor functions. CXCR2 receptor oligomerization was also studied by coimmunoprecipitation of green fluorescent protein- and V5-tagged CXCR2. Truncated CXCR2 receptors retained their ability to form oligomers only if the region between the amino acids Ala-106 and Lys-163 was present. In contrast, all of the deletion mutants analyzed were able to form heterodimers with the wt CXCR2 receptor, albeit with different efficiency, competing for wt/wt dimer formation. The truncated CXCR2 mutants were not functional and, when coexpressed with wt CXCR2, interfered with receptor functions, impairing cell signaling and chemotaxis. When CXCR2 was expressed with the AMPA-type glutamate receptor GluR1, CXCR2 dimerization was again impaired in a dose-dependent way, and receptor functions were prejudiced. In contrast, CXCR1, a chemokine receptor that shares many similarities with CXCR2, did not dimerize alone or with CXCR2 and when coexpressed with CXCR2 did not impair receptor signaling and chemotaxis. The formation of CXCR2 dimers was also confirmed in cerebellar neuron cells. Taken together, we conclude from these studies that CXCR2 functions as a dimer and that truncated receptors negatively modulate receptor activities competing for the formation of wt/wt dimers.
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