The V2 receptor gene encodes two receptor variants by alternative splicing, the canonical V2 receptor (V2a receptor) and V2b. The V2b variant has an amino acid sequence identical to that of the V2a receptor up to the sixth transmembrane domain, but the V2b sequences corresponding to the putative seventh transmembrane domain and the carboxyl terminus are different from those of the V2a receptor. Here we investigate the topology and subcellular distribution of the V2b variant. We found that, in contrast to the V2a receptor, the V2b adopted two topologies: one with six transmembrane segments with the C-terminus on the extracellular side of the membrane and another with seven transmembrane segments with the C-terminus on the intracellular side, similar to typical G-protein-coupled receptors. Furthermore, we observed that both topological isoforms oligomerized with the V2a canonical receptor. Unlike the V2a receptor, V2b did not move to the plasma membrane, but it is retained in the ER-Golgi compartments. These findings indicate that the C-terminal sequence beyond the sixth transmembrane of the V2a is required for the stabilization of the seven-transmembrane topology of the receptor and is also essential for the trafficking of the receptor to the plasma membrane.
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