Role of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 and arrestins in beta-adrenergic receptor internalization

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 1998 Jul;8(5):234-40. doi: 10.1016/s1050-1738(98)00008-5.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate the action of messengers that are key modulators of the function, growth, and differentiation of cardiac and vascular cells. A general feature of GPCRs is the existence of complex regulatory mechanisms that modulate receptor responsiveness and underlie important physiologic phenomena such as signal integration and desensitization. The molecular mechanisms of desensitization have been investigated with the beta2-adrenergic receptor (beta2AR) used as the main model system. Rapid regulation of betaAR and other GPCRs appears to involve agonist-promoted receptor phosphorylation by G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). This is followed by binding of uncoupling proteins termed arrestins and transient receptor internalization, which plays a key role in resensitizing GPCR by allowing its dephosphorylation and recycling. Recent data indicate that, besides the uncoupling function, GRK2 and beta-arrestin also directly participate in beta2AR sequestration, thus providing the trigger for its resensitization. A detailed knowledge of the role of GRKs and arrestins in betaAR internalization would make their physiologic role in the modulation of cellular responses to messengers better understood.