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  1. Vesicle fusion at the plasma membrane is critical for releasing hormones and neurotransmitters and for delivering the cognate G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) to the cell surface. The SNARE fusion machinery that releases neurotransmitters has been well characterized. In contrast, the fusion machinery that delivers GPCRs is still unknown. Here, using high-speed multichannel imaging to simultaneously visualize receptors and v-SNAREs in real time in individual fusion events, we identify VAMP2 as a selective v-SNARE for GPCR delivery. VAMP2 was preferentially enriched in vesicles that mediate the surface delivery of μ opioid receptor (MOR), but not other cargos, and was required selectively for MOR recycling. Interestingly, VAMP2 did not show preferential localization on MOR-containing endosomes, suggesting that v-SNAREs are copackaged with specific cargo into separate vesicles from the same endosomes. Together, our results identify VAMP2 as a cargo-selective v-SNARE and suggest that surface delivery of specific GPCRs is mediated by distinct fusion events driven by distinct SNARE complexes.

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  2. The trafficking of G protein coupled‐receptors (GPCRs) is one of the most exciting areas in cell biology because of recent advances demonstrating that GPCR signaling is spatially encoded. GPCRs, acting in a diverse array of physiological systems, can have differential signaling consequences depending on their subcellular localization. At the plasma membrane, GPCR organization could fine‐tune the initial stages of receptor signaling by determining the magnitude of signaling and the type of effectors to which receptors can couple. This organization is mediated by the lipid composition of the plasma membrane, receptor‐receptor interactions, and receptor interactions with intracellular scaffolding proteins. GPCR organization is subsequently changed by ligand binding and the regulated endocytosis of these receptors. Activated GPCRs can modulate the dynamics of their own endocytosis through changing clathrin‐coated pit dynamics, and through the scaffolding adaptor protein β‐arrestin. This endocytic regulation has signaling consequences, predominantly through modulation of the MAPK cascade. This review explores what is known about receptor sorting at the plasma membrane, protein partners that control receptor endocytosis, and the ways in which receptor sorting at the plasma membrane regulates downstream trafficking and signaling.

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