We have characterized the ligand-enhanced phosphorylation of the CXC chemokine receptor-2 (CXCR2) in a series of clonal 3ASubE cell lines expressing receptors truncated or mutated in the carboxyl-terminal domain. Truncation of CXCR2 by substitution of a stop codon for Ser-342 (342T) or Ser-331 (331T) results in total loss of melanoma growth stimulatory activity/growth-related protein (MGSA/GRO)-enhanced receptor phosphorylation, which cannot be explained based upon altered ligand binding affinity or receptor number. 3ASubE cells expressing 342T or CXCR2 with mutation of Ser-342, -346, -347, and -348 to alanine (4A) exhibit strong mobilization of Ca2+ in response to ligand (interleukin-8 or MGSA/GRO), with a recovery phase significantly slower than that of cells expressing wild type (WT) CXCR2. In contrast to the WT CXCR2, which is 93% desensitized by 20 nM ligand, the 331T, 342T, and 4A CXCR2 mutants do not undergo significant ligand-induced desensitization, and respond to a second ligand challenge by mobilizing Ca2+. The 3ASubE cells expressing CXCR2 with mutation of Ser-346, -347, and -348 to alanine, or with mutation of only one serine in this domain, continue to be phosphorylated in response to ligand and are 60-70% desensitized following the initial ligand challenge. WT CXCR2 phosphorylation and desensitization occur in <1 min, while receptor sequestration is a much later event (30-60 min). However, mutant receptors that are neither phosphorylated nor desensitized in response to ligand are <10% sequestered 60 min following ligand challenge. These data demonstrate for the first time that ligand binding to CXCR2 results in receptor phosphorylation, desensitization, and sequestration and that serine residues 342 and 346-348 participate in the desensitization and sequestration processes.