Arrestins play a prominent role in shutting down signaling via G protein-coupled receptors. In recent years, a signaling role for arrestins independent of their function in receptor desensitization has been discovered. Two ubiquitously expressed arrestin isoforms, arrestin-2 and arrestin-3, perform similarly in the desensitization process and share many signaling functions, enabling them to substitute for one another. However, signaling roles specific to each isoform have also been described. Mice lacking arrestin-3 (ARR3KO) were reported to show blunted acute responsiveness to the locomotor stimulatory effect of amphetamine (AMPH). It has been suggested that mice with deletion of arrestin-2 display a similar phenotype. Here we demonstrate that the AMPH-induced locomotion of male ARR3KO mice is reduced over the 7-day treatment period and during AMPH challenge after a 7-day withdrawal. The data are consistent with impaired locomotor sensitization to AMPH and suggest a role for arrestin-3-mediated signaling in the sensitization process. In contrast, male ARR2KO mice showed enhanced early responsiveness to AMPH and the lack of further sensitization, suggesting a role for impaired receptor desensitization. The comparison of mice possessing one allele of arrestin-3 and no arrestin-2 with ARR2KO littermates revealed reduced activity of the former line, consistent with a contribution of arrestin-3-mediated signaling to AMPH responses. Surprisingly, ARR3KO mice with one arrestin-2 allele showed significantly reduced locomotor responses to AMPH combined with lower novelty-induced locomotion, as compared to the ARR3KO line. These data suggest that one allele of arrestin-2 is unable to support normal locomotor behavior due to signaling and/or developmental defects.
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