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Ensemble of G Protein-Coupled Receptor Active States

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G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) play critical roles in cellular signal transduction and are important targets for therapeutics. Although these receptors have been intensely studied for quite some time, our understanding about their mechanism of action is still incomplete. GPCR activity has traditionally been viewed within the context of two-state models where the receptor is in equilibrium between a single inactive state and a single active state. This framework is too simple and restrictive to accommodate more recent observations made on these receptors, which instead point to a situation where the receptor can adopt several different active conformational substates with distinct functional effects. Structural and functional evidence for this emerging view is presented in this review. Implications of this emerging view in rationalizing diseased states and in drug discovery are also discussed.

Keywords: Conformational substates; allosteric effect; ambiguous; drug action; functional selectivity; membrane protein; receptor activation; receptor pharmacology; signal transduction; two-state model

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-03-01

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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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