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Current Drug Targets - CNS & Neurological Disorders


ISSN (Print): 1568-007X
ISSN (Online): 1568-007X

Constitutively Activated G Protein-Coupled Receptors: A Novel Approach to CNS Drug Discovery

Author(s): Frederique D.P. Menzaghi, Dominic P. Behan and Derek T. Chalmers

Volume 1 , Issue 1 , 2002

Page: [105 - 121] Pages: 17

DOI: 10.2174/1568007023339508


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent a major class of signal transduction proteins that modulate various biological functions. GPCRs are one of the most common targets for drug development-currently, 39 of the top 100 marketed drugs in use act directly or indirectly through activation or blockade of GPCR-mediated receptors. Nearly 160 GPCRs have been identified based on their gene sequence and their ability to interact with known endogenous ligands. However, an estimated 500-800 additional GPCRs have been classified as “orphan” receptors (oGPCRs) because their endogenous ligands have not yet been identified. Given that known GPCRs have proven to be such clinically useful drug targets, these oGPCRs represent a rich group of receptor targets for the development of novel and improved medicines. To develop ligands for these potential drug targets requires the ability to identify groups or pools of GPCRs that are likely to be involved in a specific disease process (obesity, schizophrenia, depression, etc.) and to dissect out the pharmacological and signal transduction differences between these GPCR subtypes. It also requires the development of assays to detect ligands of GPCRs even when the endogenous ligands are unidentified. This paper will review novel strategies to identify clinically interesting oGPCRs and to screen for small molecules that act as ligands without prior knowledge of endogenous ligands. This involves the use of constitutively activated GPCRs, a technology that provides a unique opportunity to identify several classes of pharmacological agents, including agonists, inverse agonists and allosteric modulators.

Keywords: Activated G Protein-Coupled Receptors, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), Orphan receptors

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