Although heptahelical chemoattractant and chemokine receptors are known to play a significant role in the host immune response and the pathophysiology of disease, the molecular mechanisms and transient macroassemblies underlying their activation and regulation remain largely uncharacterized. We report herein real time analyses of molecular assemblies involving the formyl peptide receptor (FPR), a well described member of the chemoattractant subfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), with both arrestins and heterotrimeric G proteins. In our system, the ability to define and discriminate distinct, in vitro receptor complexes relies on quantitative differences in the dissociation rate of a fluorescent agonist as well as the guanosine 5'-3-O-(thio)triphosphate (GTP gamma S) sensitivity of the complex, as recently described for FPR-G protein interactions. In the current study, we demonstrate a concentration- and time-dependent reconstitution of liganded, phosphorylated FPR with exogenous arrestin-2 and -3 to form a high agonist affinity, nucleotide-insensitive complex with EC(50) values of 0.5 and 0.9 microm, respectively. In contrast, neither arrestin-2 nor arrestin-3 altered the ligand dissociation kinetics of activated, nonphosphorylated FPR. Moreover, we demonstrated that the addition of G proteins was unable to alter the ligand dissociation kinetics or induce a GTP gamma S-sensitive state of the phosphorylated FPR. The properties of the phosphorylated FPR were entirely reversible upon treatment of the receptor preparation with phosphatase. These results represent to our knowledge the first report of the reconstitution of a detergent-solubilized, phosphorylated GPCR with arrestins and, furthermore, the first demonstration that phosphorylation of a nonvisual GPCR is capable of efficiently blocking G protein binding in the absence of arrestin. The significance of these results with respect to receptor desensitization and internalization are discussed.