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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jan 13;281(2):1261-73. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

beta-arrestin-dependent, G protein-independent ERK1/2 activation by the beta2 adrenergic receptor.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Physiological effects of beta adrenergic receptor (beta2AR) stimulation have been classically shown to result from G(s)-dependent adenylyl cyclase activation. Here we demonstrate a novel signaling mechanism wherein beta-arrestins mediate beta2AR signaling to extracellular-signal regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK 1/2) independent of G protein activation. Activation of ERK1/2 by the beta2AR expressed in HEK-293 cells was resolved into two components dependent, respectively, on G(s)-G(i)/protein kinase A (PKA) or beta-arrestins. G protein-dependent activity was rapid, peaking within 2-5 min, was quite transient, was blocked by pertussis toxin (G(i) inhibitor) and H-89 (PKA inhibitor), and was insensitive to depletion of endogenous beta-arrestins by siRNA. beta-Arrestin-dependent activation was slower in onset (peak 5-10 min), less robust, but more sustained and showed little decrement over 30 min. It was insensitive to pertussis toxin and H-89 and sensitive to depletion of either beta-arrestin1 or -2 by small interfering RNA. In G(s) knock-out mouse embryonic fibroblasts, wild-type beta2AR recruited beta-arrestin2-green fluorescent protein and activated pertussis toxin-insensitive ERK1/2. Furthermore, a novel beta2AR mutant (beta2AR(T68F,Y132G,Y219A) or beta2AR(TYY)), rationally designed based on Evolutionary Trace analysis, was incapable of G protein activation but could recruit beta-arrestins, undergo beta-arrestin-dependent internalization, and activate beta-arrestin-dependent ERK. Interestingly, overexpression of GRK5 or -6 increased mutant receptor phosphorylation and beta-arrestin recruitment, led to the formation of stable receptor-beta-arrestin complexes on endosomes, and increased agonist-stimulated phospho-ERK1/2. In contrast, GRK2, membrane translocation of which requires Gbetagamma release upon G protein activation, was ineffective unless it was constitutively targeted to the plasma membrane by a prenylation signal (CAAX). These findings demonstrate that the beta2AR can signal to ERK via a GRK5/6-beta-arrestin-dependent pathway, which is independent of G protein coupling.

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