Visual arrestin specifically binds to photoactivated and phosphorylated rhodopsin and inactivates phototransduction. In contrast, the p44 splice variant can terminate phototransduction by binding to nonphosphorylated light-activated rhodopsin. Here we report the crystal structure of bovine p44 at a resolution of 1.85 Å. Compared to native arrestin, the p44 structure reveals significant differences in regions crucial for receptor binding, namely flexible loop V-VI and polar core regions. Additionally, electrostatic potential is remarkably positive on the N-domain and the C-domain. The p44 structure represents an active conformation that serves as a model to explain the 'constitutive activity' found in arrestin variants.
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