Backgrounds & aims: The motilin receptor (MTLR) is an important therapeutic target for treatment of hypomotility disorders. The negative outcome in clinical trials with the motilin agonist, ABT-229, indicated that desensitization may limit the therapeutic usefulness of motilides. We therefore compared the mechanisms involved in the intracellular trafficking of the MTLR after stimulation with motilin, erythromycin-A (EM-A) or ABT-229. Methods: Desensitization was studied by measuring changes in Ca2(+) rises and by receptor binding studies in CHO cells co-expressing the Ca2+ indicator apoaequorin and the MTLR, Cterminally tagged with EGFP. Receptor phosphorylation was studied by immunoprecipitation. MTLR-EGFP trafficking to organelles and translocation of beta-arrestins were visualized by fluorescence microscopy.