Agonist-Trafficking and Hallucinogens

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Abstract:

Seven transmembrane domain receptors, also termed G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), represent the most common molecular target for therapeutic drugs. The generally accepted pharmacological model for GPCR activation is the ternary complex model, in which GPCRs exist in a dynamic equilibrium between the active and inactive conformational states. However, the demonstration that different agonists sometimes elicit a different relative activation of two signaling pathways downstream of the same receptor has led to a revision of the ternary complex model. According to this agonist- trafficking model, agonists stabilize distinct activated receptor conformations that preferentially activate specific signaling pathways. Hallucinogenic drugs and non-hallucinogenic drugs represent an attractive experimental system with which to study agonist-trafficking of receptor signaling. Thus many of the behavioral responses induced by hallucinogenic drugs, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin or mescaline, depend on activation of serotonin 5-HT2A receptors (5-HT2ARs). In contrast, this neuropsychological state in humans is not induced by closely related chemicals, such as lisuride or ergotamine, despite their similar in vitro activity at the 5-HT2AR. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge, as well as unresolved questions, regarding agonist-trafficking and the mechanism of action of hallucinogenic drugs.

Keywords: Agonist-Trafficking; G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); Hallucinogens; hallucinogenic drugs; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986709787581851

Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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