Deleterious effects on the heart from chronic stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors (βARs), members of the 7 transmembrane receptor family, have classically been shown to result from Gs-dependent adenylyl cyclase activation. Here, we identify a new signaling mechanism using both in vitro and in vivo systems whereby β-arrestins mediate β1AR signaling to the EGFR. This β-arrestin-dependent transactivation of the EGFR, which is independent of G protein activation, requires the G protein-coupled receptor kinases 5 and 6. In mice undergoing chronic sympathetic stimulation, this novel signaling pathway is shown to promote activation of cardioprotective pathways that counteract the effects of catecholamine toxicity. These findings suggest that drugs that act as classical antagonists for G protein signaling, but also stimulate signaling via β-arrestin-mediated cytoprotective pathways, would represent a novel class of agents that could be developed for multiple members of the 7 transmembrane receptor family.
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