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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 15;277(11):9247-54. Epub 2002 Jan 2.

beta-Arrestin/AP-2 interaction in G protein-coupled receptor internalization: identification of a beta-arrestin binging site in beta 2-adaptin.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute Laboratories, the Department of Cell Biology, and the Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


beta-Arrestins, proteins involved in the turn-off of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation, bind to the beta(2)-adaptin subunit of the clathrin adaptor AP-2. The interaction of beta(2)-adaptin with beta-arrestin involves critical arginine residues in the C-terminal domain of beta-arrestin and plays an important role in initiating clathrin-mediated endocytosis of the beta(2)-adrenergic receptor (beta(2)AR) (Laporte, S. A., Oakley, R. H., Holt, J. A., Barak, L. S., and Caron, M. G. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 23120--23126). However, the beta-arrestin-binding site in beta(2)-adaptin has not been identified, and little is known about the role of beta-arrestin/AP-2 interaction in the endocytosis of other GPCRs. Using in vitro binding assays, we have identified two glutamate residues (Glu-849 and Glu-902) in beta(2)-adaptin that are important in beta-arrestin binding. These residues are located in the platform subdomain of the C terminus of beta(2)-adaptin, where accessory/adapter endocytic proteins for other classes of receptors interact, distinct from the main site where clathrin interacts. The functional significance of the beta-arrestin/AP-2/clathrin complex in the endocytosis of GPCRs such as the beta(2)AR and vasopressin type II receptor was evaluated using mutant constructs of the beta(2)-adaptin C terminus containing either the clathrin and the beta-arrestin binding domains or the beta-arrestin-binding domain alone. When expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, both constructs acted as dominant negatives inhibiting the agonist-induced internalization of the beta(2)AR and the vasopressin type II receptor. In addition, although the beta(2)-adaptin construct containing both the clathrin and beta-arrestin binding domains was able to block the endocytosis of transferrin receptors, a beta(2)-adaptin construct capable of associating with beta-arrestin but lacking its high affinity clathrin interaction did not interfere with transferrin receptor endocytosis. These results suggest that the interaction of beta-arrestin with beta(2)-adaptin represents a selective endocytic trigger for several members of the GPCR family.

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