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Detection and quantification of beta2AR internalization in living cells using FAP-based biosensor technology.
Ligand-dependent receptor internalization is a feature of numerous signaling systems. In this article, the authors describe a new kind of live-cell biosensor of receptor internalization that takes advantage of fluorogen-activating protein (FAP) technology. Recombinant genes that express the human beta2 adrenergic receptor (beta2AR) with FAP domains at their extracellular N-termini were transduced into mammalian cells. Exposure of the cells to membrane-impermeant fluorogens led to a strong fluorescent signal from the cell surface. Agonist-dependent translocation of the receptor from the surface to the cell interior was readily observed and quantified by fluorescence microscopy or flow cytometry in a homogeneous format without wash or separation steps. The approach described here is generalizable to other receptors and cell surface proteins and is adaptable to a variety of fluorescence-based high-throughput screening platforms.