Arrestin-1 preferentially binds active phosphorylated rhodopsin. Previously, a mutant with enhanced binding to unphosphorylated active rhodopsin (Rh*) was shown to partially compensate for lack of rhodopsin phosphorylation in vivo. Here we showed that reengineering of the receptor binding surface of arrestin-1 further improves the binding to Rh* while preserving protein stability. In mammals, arrestin-1 readily self-associates at physiological concentrations. The biological role of this phenomenon can only be elucidated by replacing wild type arrestin-1 in living animals with a non-oligomerizing mutant retaining all other functions. We demonstrate that constitutively monomeric forms of arrestin-1 are sufficiently stable for in vivo expression. We also tested the idea that individual functions of arrestin-1 can be independently manipulated to generate mutants with the desired combinations of functional characteristics. Here we showed that this approach is feasible; stable forms of arrestin-1 with high Rh* binding can be generated with or without the ability to self-associate. These novel molecular tools open the possibility of testing of the biological role of arrestin-1 self-association and pave the way to elucidation of full potential of compensational approach to gene therapy of gain-of-function receptor mutations.