Class B GPCRs are activated by peptide ligands, typically 30-40 amino acid residues, that are involved in major physiological functions such as glucose homeostasis (glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1), calcium homeostasis and bone turnover (parathyroid hormone and calcitonin), and control of the stress axis (corticotropin-releasing factor). Peptide therapeutics have been developed targeting these receptors but development of nonpeptide ligands, enabling oral administration, has proved challenging. Allosteric modulation of these receptors provides a potential route to developing nonpeptide ligands that inhibit, activate, or potentiate activation of these receptors. Here the known mechanisms of allosteric modulators targeting Class B GPCRs are reviewed, particularly nonpeptide antagonists of the corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptor and allosteric enhancers of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor. Also discussed is the potential for antagonist ligands to operate by competitive inhibition of one of the peptide binding sites, analogous to the Charniere mechanism. These mechanisms are then used to discuss potential strategies and management of pharmacological complexity in the future development of allosteric modulators for Class B GPCRs.
Keywords: Allosteric, class B, G-protein-coupled receptor, secretin, corticotropin-releasing factor, nonpeptide, glucagon-like peptide, parathyroid hormone
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