The role of β-arrestins in the termination and transduction of G-protein-coupled receptor signals
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β-arrestins are versatile adapter proteins that form complexes with most G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) following agonist binding and phosphorylation of receptors by G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). They play a central role in the interrelated processes of homologous desensitization and GPCR sequestration, which lead to the termination of G protein activation. β-arrestin binding to GPCRs both uncouples receptors from heterotrimeric G proteins and targets them to clathrincoated pits for endocytosis. Recent data suggest that β-arrestins also function as GPCR signal transducers. They can form complexes with several signaling proteins, including Src family tyrosine kinases and components of the ERK1/2 and JNK3 MAP kinase cascades. By recruiting these kinases to agonist-occupied GPCRs, β-arrestins confer distinct signaling activities upon the receptor. β-arrestin-Src complexes have been proposed to modulate GPCR endocytosis, to trigger ERK1/2 activation and to mediate neutrophil degranulation. By acting as scaffolds for the ERK1/2 and JNK3 cascades, β-arrestins both facilitate GPCR-stimulated MAP kinase activation and target active MAP kinases to specific locations within the cell. Thus, their binding to GPCRs might initiate a second wave of signaling and represent a novel mechanism of GPCR signal transduction.
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James B. Duke Professor of Medicine
The focus of work in this laboratory is on the elucidation of the molecular properties and regulatory mechanisms controlling the function of G protein-coupled receptors. As model systems we utilize the so called adrenergic receptors for adrenaline and related molecules. The goal is to learn the general principles of signal transduction from the outside to the inside of the cell which are involved in systems as diverse as sensory perception, neuro- transmitter and hormonal signaling. Stud