Nonvisual arrestins (arrestin-2 and -3) serve as adaptors to link agonist-activated G protein-coupled receptors to the endocytic machinery. Although many G protein-coupled receptors bind arrestins, the molecular determinants involved in binding remain largely unknown. Because arrestins selectively promote the internalization of the alpha(2b)- and alpha(2c)-adrenergic receptors (ARs) while having no effect on the alpha(2a)AR, here we used alpha(2)ARs to identify molecular determinants involved in arrestin binding. Initially, we assessed the ability of purified arrestins to bind glutathione S-transferase fusions containing the third intracellular loops of the alpha(2a)AR, alpha(2b)AR, or alpha(2c)AR. These studies revealed that arrestin-3 directly binds to the alpha(2b)AR and alpha(2c)AR but not the alpha(2a)AR, whereas arrestin-2 only binds to the alpha(2b)AR. Truncation mutagenesis of the alpha(2b)AR identified two arrestin-3 binding domains in the third intracellular loop, one at the N-terminal end (residues 194-214) and the other at the C-terminal end (residues 344-368). Site-directed mutagenesis further revealed a critical role for several basic residues in arrestin-3 binding to the alpha(2b)AR third intracellular loop. Mutation of these residues in the holo-alpha(2b)AR and subsequent expression in HEK 293 cells revealed that the mutations had no effect on the ability of the receptor to activate ERK1/2. However, agonist-promoted internalization of the mutant alpha(2b)AR was significantly attenuated as compared with wild type receptor. These results demonstrate that arrestin-3 binds to two discrete regions within the alpha(2b)AR third intracellular loop and that disruption of arrestin binding selectively abrogates agonist-promoted receptor internalization.