Mechanisms of β-Adrenergic Receptor Desensitization

  • M. J. Lohse
Part of the Research Reports in Physics book series (RESREPORTS)


β-Adrenergic receptors mediate the stimulatory effects of catecholamines on adenylyl cyclase. They are members of the large family of cell surface receptors transmitting their signals via G-proteins, which all have a characteristic structure encompassing seven transmembrane alpha-helical domains. These receptors are subject to a multitude of regulatory mechanisms that serve to adapt receptor responsiveness to the level of receptor stimulation. Agonist stimulation of the receptors results in a loss of receptor responsiveness which is called desensitization. Rapid mechanisms of desensitization involve a loss of receptor function by receptor phosphorylation plus binding of a protein inhibiting receptor-G protein interaction. This protein was called β-arrestin, because it is similar to the retinal protein arrestin that has been proposed to inhibit rhodopsin function. Slow mechanisms of desensitization involve a reduction in receptor number, which is due to both enhanced receptor degradation and reduced synthesis.


Adenylyl Cyclase Adrenergic Receptor Receptor Number Receptor Desensitization Transmembrane Signalling 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Lohse
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorium für Molekulare BiologieUniversität MünchenGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für BiochemieMartinsriedFed.Rep.of Germany

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