The past years have seen tremendous progress towards understanding how arrestins recognize phosphorylated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Two arrestin crystal structures, one of a pre-activated splice variant and one bound to a GPCR phosphopeptide, provided insights into the conformational changes upon phosphate recognition. Scanning mutagenesis and spectroscopic studies complete the picture of arrestin activation and receptor binding. Most perspicuous is the C-tail exchange mechanism, by which the C-tail of arrestin is released from its basal conformation and replaced by the phosphorylated GPCR C-terminus. Three positively charged clusters could act as conserved arrestin phosphosensors. Variations in the pattern of phosphorylation in a GPCR and variations within the C-terminus of different GPCRs may encode specificity to arrestin subtypes and particular physiological responses.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.