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Constitutive internalisation of EP2 differentially regulates G protein signalling.

The prostanoid G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) EP2 is widely expressed and implicated in endometriosis, osteoporosis, obesity, pre-term labour, and cancer. Internalisation and intracellular trafficking are critical for shaping GPCR activity, yet little is known regarding spatial programming of EP2 signalling and whether this can be exploited pharmacologically. Using three EP2-selective ligands that favour activation of different EP2 pathways, we show that EP2 undergoes limited agonist-driven internalisation but is constitutively internalised via dynamin-dependent, β-arrestin-independent pathways. EP2 was constitutively trafficked to early and very early endosomes (VEE) which was not altered by ligand activation. APPL1, a key adaptor and regulatory protein of the VEE, did not impact EP2 agonist-mediated cAMP. Internalisation was required for ~70% of the acute butaprost- and AH13205-mediated cAMP signalling, yet PGN9856i, a Gαs biased agonist, was less dependent on receptor internalisation for its cAMP signalling, particularly in human term pregnant myometrial cells that endogenously express EP2. Inhibition of EP2 internalisation partially reduced calcium signalling activated by butaprost or AH13205 and had no effect on PGE2 secretion. This indicates an agonist-dependent differential spatial requirement for Gαs and Gαq/11 signalling and a role for plasma membrane initiated Gαq/11-Ca2+-mediated PGE2 secretion. These findings reveal a key role for EP2 constitutive internalisation in its signalling and potential spatial bias in mediating its downstream functions. This in turn could highlight important considerations for future selective targeting of EP2 signalling pathways.

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