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AAPS PharmSci. 2001 September; 3(3): 54–80.
Published online 2001 July 26. doi:  10.1208/ps030322
PMCID: PMC2751017

Genetic variations in human G protein-coupled receptors: Implications for drug therapy


Numerous genes encode G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)-a main molecular target for drug therapy. Estimates indicate that the human genome contains approximately 600 GPCR genes. This article addresses therapeutic implications of sequence variations in GPCR genes. A number of inactivating and activating receptor mutations have been shown to cause a variety of (mostly rare) genetic disorders. However, pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic studies on GPCRs are scarce, and therapeutic relevance of variant receptor alleles often remains unclear. Confounding factors in assessing the therapeutic relevance of variant GPCR alleles include 1) interaction of a single drug with multiple closely related receptors, 2) poorly defined binding pockets that can accommodate drug ligands in different orientations or at alternative receptor domains, 3) possibility of multiple receptor conformations with distinct functions, and 4) multiple signaling pathways engaged by a single receptor. For example, antischizophrenic drugs bind to numerous receptors, several of which might be relevant to therapeutic outcome. Without knowing accurately what role a given receptor subtype plays in clinical outcome and how a sequence variation affects drug-induced signal transduction, we cannot predict the therapeutic relevance of a receptor variant. Genome-wide association studies with single nucleotide polymorphisms could identify critical target receptors for disease susceptibility and drug efficacy or toxicity.

Keywords: G Protein-Coupled, Receptors, Drug Therapy, Pharmacogenomics, Pharmacogenetics


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