Norepinephrine released by the sympathetic nerve terminals regulates the immune system primarily via its stimulation of beta(2)-adrenergic receptor (beta(2)AR), but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be elicited. Beta(2)AR, a well-studied G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), is functionally regulated by beta-arrestin2, which not only causes receptor desensitization and internalization but also serves as a signaling molecule in GPCR signal transduction. Here we show that beta-arrestin2 directly interacts with IkappaBalpha (inhibitor of NF-kappaB, the key molecule in innate and adaptive immunity) and thus prevents the phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaBalpha. Consequently, beta-arrestin2 effectively modulates activation of NF-kappaB and expression of NF-kappaB target genes. Moreover, stimulation of beta(2)AR significantly enhances beta-arrestin2-IkappaBalpha interaction and greatly promotes beta-arrestin2 stabilization of IkappaBalpha, indicating that beta-arrestin2 mediates a crosstalk between beta(2)AR and NF-kappaB signaling pathways. Taken together, the current study may present a novel mechanism for regulation of the immune system by the sympathetic nervous system.
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