Arrestins are a small protein family with only four members in mammals. Arrestins demonstrate an amazing versatility, interacting with hundreds of different G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) subtypes, numerous nonreceptor signaling proteins, and components of the internalization machinery, as well as cytoskeletal elements, including regular microtubules and centrosomes. Here, we focus on the structural determinants that mediate various arrestin functions. The receptor-binding elements in arrestins were mapped fairly comprehensively, which set the stage for the construction of mutants targeting particular GPCRs. The elements engaged by other binding partners are only now being elucidated and in most cases we have more questions than answers. Interestingly, even very limited and imprecise identification of structural requirements for the interaction with very few other proteins has enabled the development of signaling-biased arrestin mutants. More comprehensive understanding of the structural underpinning of different arrestin functions will pave the way for the construction of arrestins that can link the receptor we want to the signaling pathway of our choosing.
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