Phosphorylation Bar Codes Induce Distinct Conformations and Functionalities of beta-Arrestin
Seven transmembrane spanning receptors (7TMRs), or G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), represent the largest and most ubiquitous of the several families of plasma membrane receptors and regulate virtually all known physiological processes in humans. The classical paradigm of signal transduction in response to 7TMR stimulation involves an agonist-induced conformational change of the receptor which leads to interaction with and dissociation of the heterotrimeric G-protein into independent Galpha and Gbeta;gamma signaling subunits. Following their activation, 7TMRs are phosphorylated by G-protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and subsequently recruit beta-arrestins. beta-arrestins are multifunctional adaptor proteins which not only desensitize G-protein signals, but also facilitate receptor internalization and mediate numerous signaling pathways on their own. As beta-arrestins universally interact with members of the 7TMR superfamily, we (1) developed an in vitro model system to assess conformational changes that occur in beta-arrestins in response to phosphorylation and (2) to map the sites of phosphorylation on the beta2 adrenergic receptor by different GRKs which would determine the conformation(s) assumed by beta-arrestin and thereby, in turn, instruct its functional capabilities.
We determined conformational changes in beta-arrestin1 in vitro using limited tryptic proteolysis and MALDI-TOF MS analysis in the presence of a phosphopeptides derived from the C-terminus of the V2 vasopressin receptor (V2Rpp or V2R4p) or the corresponding unphosphorylated peptide (V2Rnp). Upon V2Rpp binding, we show that the previously shielded R393 becomes accessible, which indicates release of the C-terminus. Moreover, we have shown that R285 becomes more accessible and this residue is located in a region of β-arrestin1 responsible for stabilization of its polar core. These two findings demonstrate "activation" of beta-arrestin1. We also show a functional consequence of the release of beta-arrestin1's C-terminus by enhanced clathrin binding. In addition, we have shown marked protection of beta-arrestin1's N-domain in the presence of V2Rpp; consistent with previous studies suggesting the N-domain is responsible for recognizing phosphates in 7TMRs. Using a differentially phsophorylated V2R peptide (V2R4p), we show that beta-arrestin1 is able to adopt distinct conformations in response to different phosphorylation patterns. Futhermore, a striking difference is observed in the conformation of V2Rpp-bound beta-arrestin1 when compared to beta-arrestin2, namely the flexibility of the inter-domain hinge region. These data represent the first direct evidence that the beta-arrestin1 conformation is differentially instructed by phosphorylation patterns and that the "receptor-bound" conformations of beta-arrestins1 and 2 are different.
Phosphorylation of 7TMRs by GRKs plays essential roles in regulation of receptor function by promoting interactions of the receptors with beta-arrestins. We hypothesized that different GRKs phosphorylate distinct sets of sites thereby establishing a "bar code." In order to test this hypothesis, we monitored the phosphorylation events of the beta2AR upon stimulation with a classical full agonist, isoproterenol, or a beta-arrestin "biased" agonist, carvedilol, in the presence of a full complement of GRKs or when individual GRKs (2 or 6) were depleted by siRNA. We demonstrate that at least thirteen sites on the beta2AR show changes in phosphorylation in response to the agonist isoproterenol. Of these, phosphorylation increased 10 to more than 300 fold in 12 (S261, S262, S345, S346, S355, S356, T360, S364, S396, S401, S407 AND S411) and decreased 50% in one (S246). Depletion of GRK2 or 6 by siRNA indicates that S355, 356 are GRK6 sites whereas the remainder are GRK2 sites. Phosphorylation of GRK2 sites inhibits that of GRK6 sites. Carvedilol, a beta-arrestin biased agonist, promotes phosphorylation of only the GRK6 sites S355, 356. In HEK293 cells, GRK2 phosphorylation is found to be the major positive regulator of receptor internalization; to contribute to receptor desensitization; and to inhibit beta-arrestin mediated ERK activation. Phosphorylation of the two GRK6 sites contributes to receptor desensitization and internalization and is required for beta-arrestin mediated ERK activation. These data indicate that different ligands promote distinct patterns of receptor phosphorylation which dictate different patterns of beta-arrestin mediated function.
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