The vasoactive intestinal polypeptide type-1 (VPAC(1)) receptor is a class II G protein-coupled receptor, distinct from the adrenergic receptor superfamily. The mechanisms involved in the regulation of the VPAC(1) receptor are largely unknown. We examined agonist-dependent VPAC(1) receptor signaling, phosphorylation, desensitization, and sequestration in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. Agonist stimulation of cells overexpressing this receptor led to a dose-dependent increase in cAMP that peaked within 5-10 min and was completely desensitized after 20 min. Cells cotransfected with the VPAC(1) receptor (VPAC(1)R) and G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) 2, 3, 5, and 6 exhibited enhanced desensitization that was not evident with GRK 4. Immunoprecipitation of the epitope-tagged VPAC(1) receptor revealed dose-dependent phosphorylation that was increased with cotransfection of any GRK. Agonist-stimulated internalization of the VPAC(1)R peaked in 10 min, and neither overexpressed beta-arrestin nor its dominant-negative mutant altered internalization. However, a dynamin-dominant negative mutant did inhibit VPAC(1) receptor internalization. Interestingly, VPAC(1)R specificity in desensitization was not evident by study of the overexpressed receptor; however, we determined that human embryonic kidney 293 cells express an endogenous VPAC(1)R that did demonstrate dose-dependent GRK specificity. Therefore, VPAC(1) receptor regulation involves agonist-stimulated, GRK-mediated phosphorylation, beta-arrestin translocation, and dynamin-dependent receptor internalization. Moreover, study of endogenously expressed receptors may provide information not evident in overexpressed systems.