G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are considered therapeutically important due to their involvement in a variety of processes governing several cellular functions, and their tractability as drug targets. A large percentage of drugs on the market, and in development stages, target the super family of the GPCRs. The enormous interest in GPCR drug design is, however, limited by the scarcity of structural information. The only GPCR for which a three dimensional (3D) structure is reported is bovine rhodopsin and it belongs to class A of the GPCR family. As a result, there has been considerable interest in alternative techniques, for example, homology modeling of GPCRs, in order to derive useful three dimensional models of other proteins for use in structure-based drug design. However, homology modeling of GPCRs is not straightforward, and encounters several problems, owing to the availability of a single structural template, as well as the low degree of sequence homology between the template and target sequences. There are several key issues which need to be considered during every stage of GPCR homology modeling, in order to derive reasonable 3D models. Homology modeling of GPCRs has been utilized increasingly in the past few years and has been successful, not only in furthering the understanding of ligand-protein interactions, but also in the identification of new and potent ligands. Thus, with the lessons learned from past experiences and new developments, homology modeling in case of GPCRs can be harnessed for developing more reliable three dimensional models. This, in turn, will provide better tools to use in structure-based drug design leading to the identification of novel and potent GPCR ligands for several therapeutic indications.
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, USA.
Publication date: June 1, 2006
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