The orexin-1 receptor interacts with β-arrestin-2 in an agonist-dependent manner. In HEK-293T cells, these two proteins became co-internalized into acidic endosomes. Truncations from the C-terminal tail did not prevent agonist-induced internalization of the orexin-1 receptor or alter the pathway of internalization, although such mutants failed to interact with β-arrestin-2 in a sustained manner or produce its co-internalization. Mutation of a cluster of three threonine and one serine residue at the extreme C-terminus of the receptor greatly reduced interaction and abolished co-internalization of β-arrestin-2–GFP (green fluorescent protein). Despite the weak interactions of this C-terminally mutated form of the receptor with β-arrestin-2, studies in wild-type and β-arrestin-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts confirmed that agonist-induced internalization of this mutant required expression of a β-arrestin. Although without effect on agonist-mediated elevation of intracellular Ca2+ levels, the C-terminally mutated form of the orexin-1 receptor was unable to sustain phosphorylation of the MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases) ERK1 and ERK2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2) to the same extent as the wild-type receptor. These studies indicate that a single cluster of hydroxy amino acids within the C-terminal seven amino acids of the orexin-1 receptor determine the sustainability of interaction with β-arrestin-2, and indicate an important role of β-arrestin scaffolding in defining the kinetics of orexin-1 receptor-mediated ERK MAPK activation.

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