Over the last decade β-arrestins have emerged as pleiotropic scaffold proteins, capable of mediating numerous diverse responses to multiple agonists. Most well characterized are the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) stimulated β-arrestin signals, which are sometimes synergistic with, and sometimes independent of, heterotrimeric G-protein signals. β-arrestin signaling involves the recruitment of downstream signaling moieties to β-arrestins; in many cases specific sites of interaction between β-arrestins and the downstream target have been identified. As more information unfolds about the nature of β-arrestin scaffolding interactions, it is evident that these proteins are capable of adopting multiple conformations which in turn reveal a specific set of interacting domains. Recruitment of β-arrestin to a specific GPCR can promote formation of a specific subset of available β-arrestin scaffolds, allowing for a higher level of specificity to given agonists. This review discusses recent advances in β-arrestin signaling, discussing the molecular details of a subset of known β-arrestin scaffolds and the significance of specific binding interactions on the ultimate cellular response.
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