For a long time, there have been no experimentally determined structural data for any adenosine receptor (AR) and the only approach available for making structure/function correlations about these proteins has been homology modeling. While the early attempts to model these receptors followed the crystallization of bacteriorhodopsin, the cryomicroscopy studies of bovine and frog rhodopsin, and the modeling of a Cα-template for the TM helices in the rhodopsin family of GPCRs, the crystallization of bovine rhodopsin by Palczewski was of extreme importance as it first provided the crystal structure of an eukaryotic GPCR to be used as template for more realistic homology models. Since then, rhodopsin-based modeling became the routine approach to develop AR structural models that proved to be useful for interpretation of site-directed mutagenesis data and for molecular docking studies. The recently reported crystal structures of the adrenergic beta1 and beta2 receptors only partially confirmed the structural features showed by bovine rhodopsin, raising a question about which template would have been better for further modeling of ARs. Such question remained actually not-answered, due to the publication in late 2008 of the crystal structure of human adenosine A2A receptor (AA2AR). Since its publication, this structure has been used for ligands docking analysis and has provided a high similarity template for homology modeling of the other AR subtypes. Still, the AA2AR crystal structure allows to verify the hypotheses that were made on the basis of the previously reported homology modeling and molecular docking.
Keywords: Adenosine receptors, docking, homology modeling, molecular modeling, mutagenesis, structure-based drug design
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