MAGI Proteins regulate the trafficking and signaling of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 via a compensatory mechanism

Maha Hammad, Henry A. Dunn, Stephen S.G. Ferguson

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor1 (CRFR1) is associated with psychiatric illness and is a proposed target for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Similar to many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), CRFR1 harbors a PDZ (PSD-95/Disc Large/Zona Occludens)-binding motif at the end of its carboxyl-terminal tail. The interactions of PDZ proteins with GPCRs are crucial for the regulation of receptor function. In the present study, we characterize the interaction of all members of the membrane-associated guanylate kinase with inverted orientation PDZ (MAGI) proteins with CRFR1. We show using co-immunoprecipitation that CRFR1 interacts with MAGI-1 and MAGI-3 in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells in a PDZ motif-dependent manner. We find that overexpression as well as knockdown of MAGI proteins result in a significant reduction in CRFR1 endocytosis. This effect is dependent on an intact PDZ binding motif for MAGI-2 and MAGI-3 but not MAGI-1. We show that the alteration in expression levels of MAGI-1, MAGI-2 or MAGI-3 can interfere with β-arrestin recruitment to CRFR1. This could explain the effects observed with receptor internalization. We also find that knockdown of endogenous MAGI-1, MAGI-2 or MAGI-3 in HEK293 cells can lead to an enhancement in ERK1/2 signaling but has no effect on cAMP formation. Interestingly, we observe a compensation effect between MAGI-1 and MAGI-3. Taken together, our data suggest that the MAGI proteins, MAGI-1, MAGI-2 and MAGI-3 can regulate β-arrestin-mediated internalization of CRFR1 as well as its signaling and that there is a compensatory mechanism involved in regulating the function of the MAGI subfamily.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Signaling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Compensatory mechanism
  • Corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1
  • MAGI
  • PDZ protein interaction
  • Signaling
  • Trafficking


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