Conformational differences between arrestin2 and pre-activated mutants as revealed by hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry.
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Arrestins are regulatory proteins that bind specifically to ligand-activated phosphorylated G protein-coupled receptors to terminate G protein-mediated signaling, cause the internalization of the receptor-arrestin complex, and initiate additional intracellular signaling cascades. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that arrestin normally exists in an inactive basal state and undergoes conformational activation in the process of receptor binding. "Pre-activated" phosphorylation-independent arrestin mutants display increased binding to ligand-activated but unphosphorylated receptors. The mutations are believed to expose key receptor-binding regions, allowing the mutants to mimic, to some extent, the transition of arrestin to its active state. In the present study, amide hydrogen exchange (HX) and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to examine the inactive conformation of wild-type arrestin2 and compare its solution conformation with two pre-activated mutants (R169E and 3A (I385A, V386A, F387A)). The results suggest an unexpected level of structural organization within arrestin elements containing clathrin and adaptin2-binding sites that were previously believed to be completely disordered. Increased deuterium incorporation was observed in both mutant forms compared with wild-type, indicating a change in the conformation of the mutants. Three regions demonstrated significant differences in deuterium incorporation: the first 33 residues of the N terminus and residues 243-255 (both previously implicated in receptor interaction), and residues 271-299. The results suggest that subtle differences in conformation are responsible for the significant difference in biological activity displayed by pre-activated arrestin mutants and that similar changes occur in the process of arrestin binding to the receptor.