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Bivalent Ligands as Specific Pharmacological Tools for G Protein-Coupled Receptor Dimers

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G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are major drug targets and are organized in dimeric/oligomeric complexes. These dimers may be composed of identical (homodimer) or different (heterodimer) receptors. GPCR dimerization provides new opportunities for drug design. Different strategies have been developed to specifically target GPCR dimers. Bivalent ligands, which are composed of two functional pharmacophores linked by a spacer, are among the most promising strategies. Due to the constitutive nature of GPCR dimers, bivalent ligands are expected in most cases to bind to and stabilize preexisting dimers rather then to promote ligand-induced dimerization. Most studies on GPCR dimerization were conducted so far in heterologous expression systems. Due the development of heterodimerspecific tools such as bivalent ligands, dimerization has now been confirmed for an increasing number of receptors in native tissues. In this review, we will discuss general considerations for the design and synthesis of bivalent ligands and present the functional in vitro and in vivo properties of reported bivalent ligands.

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Keywords: Bivalent ligand; GPCR dimerization; GPCR oligomers; drug design; heterodimers; spacer attachment point; spacer chemical structure; spacer size

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • Due to the plethora of new approaches being used in modern drug discovery by the pharmaceutical industry, Current Drug Discovery Technologies has been established to provide comprehensive overviews of all the major modern techniques and technologies used in drug design and discovery. The journal is the forum for publishing both original research papers and reviews describing novel approaches and cutting edge technologies used in all stages of drug discovery. The journal addresses the multidimensional challenges of drug discovery science including integration issues of the drug discovery process.

    Current Drug Discovery Technologies is an essential journal for all scientists and research managers involved in drug discovery who wish to keep abreast of all the modern techniques and technologies used in drug discovery.
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