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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evolving concepts in G protein-coupled receptor endocytosis: the role in receptor desensitization and signaling.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are seven transmembrane proteins that form the largest single family of integral membrane receptors. GPCRs transduce information provided by extracellular stimuli into intracellular second messengers via their coupling to heterotrimeric G proteins and the subsequent regulation of a diverse variety of effector systems. Agonist activation of GPCRs also initiates processes that are involved in the feedback desensitization of GPCR responsiveness, the internalization of GPCRs, and the coupling of GPCRs to heterotrimeric G protein-independent signal transduction pathways. GPCR desensitization occurs as a consequence of G protein uncoupling in response to phosphorylation by both second messenger-dependent protein kinases and G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). GRK-mediated receptor phosphorylation promotes the binding of beta-arrestins, which not only uncouple receptors from heterotrimeric G proteins but also target many GPCRs for internalization in clathrin-coated vesicles. beta-Arrestin-dependent endocytosis of GPCRs involves the direct interaction of the carboxyl-terminal tail domain of beta-arrestins with both beta-adaptin and clathrin. The focus of this review is the current and evolving understanding of the contribution of GRKs, beta-arrestins, and endocytosis to GPCR-specific patterns of desensitization and resensitization. In addition to their role as GPCR-specific endocytic adaptor proteins, beta-arrestins also serve as molecular scaffolds that foster the formation of alternative, heterotrimeric G protein-independent signal transduction complexes. Similar to what is observed for GPCR desensitization and resensitization, beta-arrestin-dependent GPCR internalization is involved in the intracellular compartmentalization of these protein complexes.[1]


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