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Manifold roles of β-arrestins in GPCR signaling elucidated with siRNA and CRISPR/Cas9.

Luttrell LM, Wang J, Plouffe B, Smith JS, Yamani L, Kaur S, Jean-Charles PY, Gauthier C, Lee MH, Pani B, Kim J, Ahn S, Rajagopal S, Reiter E, Bouvier M, Shenoy SK, Laporte SA, Rockman HA, Lefkowitz RJ

Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) use diverse mechanisms to regulate the mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2. β-Arrestins (βArr1/2) are ubiquitous inhibitors of G protein signaling, promoting GPCR desensitization and internalization and serving as scaffolds for ERK1/2 activation. Studies using CRISPR/Cas9 to delete βArr1/2 and G proteins have cast doubt on the role of β-arrestins in activating specific pools of ERK1/2. We compared the effects of siRNA-mediated knockdown of βArr1/2 and reconstitution with βArr1/2 in three different parental and CRISPR-derived βArr1/2 knockout HEK293 cell pairs to assess the effect of βArr1/2 deletion on ERK1/2 activation by four Gs-coupled GPCRs. In all parental lines with all receptors, ERK1/2 stimulation was reduced by siRNAs specific for βArr2 or βArr1/2. In contrast, variable effects were observed with CRISPR-derived cell lines both between different lines and with activation of different receptors. For β2 adrenergic receptors (β2ARs) and β1ARs, βArr1/2 deletion increased, decreased, or had no effect on isoproterenol-stimulated ERK1/2 activation in different CRISPR clones. ERK1/2 activation by the vasopressin V2 and follicle-stimulating hormone receptors was reduced in these cells but was enhanced by reconstitution with βArr1/2. Loss of desensitization and receptor internalization in CRISPR βArr1/2 knockout cells caused β2AR-mediated stimulation of ERK1/2 to become more dependent on G proteins, which was reversed by reintroducing βArr1/2. These data suggest that βArr1/2 function as a regulatory hub, determining the balance between mechanistically different pathways that result in activation of ERK1/2, and caution against extrapolating results obtained from βArr1/2- or G protein-deleted cells to GPCR behavior in native systems.

Sci Signal 2018;11(549).

Pubmed ID: 30254056

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