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

Beta-arrestin- mediated activation of MAPK by inverse agonists reveals distinct active conformations for G protein-coupled receptors.

It is becoming increasingly clear that signaling via G protein-coupled receptors is a diverse phenomenon involving receptor interaction with a variety of signaling partners. Despite this diversity, receptor ligands are commonly classified only according to their ability to modify G protein-dependent signaling. Here we show that beta2AR ligands like ICI118551 and propranolol, which are inverse agonists for Gs-stimulated adenylyl cyclase, induce partial agonist responses for the mitogen-activated protein kinases extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 thus behaving as dual efficacy ligands. ERK1/2 activation by dual efficacy ligands was not affected by ADP-ribosylation of Galphai and could be observed in S49-cyc- cells lacking Galphas indicating that, unlike the conventional agonist isoproterenol, these drugs induce ERK1/2 activation in a Gs/i-independent manner. In contrast, this activation was inhibited by a dominant negative mutant of beta-arrestin and was abolished in mouse embryonic fibroblasts lacking beta-arrestin 1 and 2. The role of beta-arrestin was further confirmed by showing that transfection of beta-arrestin 2 in these knockout cells restored ICI118551 promoted ERK1/2 activation. ICI118551 and propranolol also promoted beta-arrestin recruitment to the receptor. Taken together, these observations suggest that beta-arrestin recruitment is not an exclusive property of agonists, and that ligands classically classified as inverse agonists rely exclusively on beta-arrestin for their positive signaling activity. This phenomenon is not unique to beta2-adrenergic ligands because SR121463B, an inverse agonist on the V2 vasopressin receptor-stimulated adenylyl cyclase, recruited beta-arrestin and stimulated ERK1/2. These results point to a multistate model of receptor activation in which ligand-specific conformations are capable of differentially activating distinct signaling partners.[1]


  1. Beta-arrestin-mediated activation of MAPK by inverse agonists reveals distinct active conformations for G protein-coupled receptors. Azzi, M., Charest, P.G., Angers, S., Rousseau, G., Kohout, T., Bouvier, M., Piñeyro, G. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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