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1.  Cardiovascular Pharmacogenomics of Adrenergic Receptor Signaling: Clinical Implications and Future Directions 
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the targets for many drugs, and genetic variation in coding and noncoding regions is apparent in many such receptors. In this superfamily, adrenergic receptors (ARs) were among the first in which single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were discovered, and studies including in vitro mutagenesis, genetically modified mouse models, human ex vivo and in vitro studies and pharmacogenetic association studies were conducted. The signal transduction in these receptors includes amplification steps, desensitization, crosstalk, and redundancies, enabling potential mitigation of the size of the clinical effect for a single variant in a single gene. Nevertheless, convincing evidence has emerged that several variants have an impact on therapy, with certain caveats as to how the results are to be interpreted. Here we review these results for selected ARs and associated regulatory kinases relative to the pharmacogenomics of β-blocker treatment for hypertension and heart failure. We emphasize the linking of clinical results to molecular mechanisms, discuss study design limitations, and offer some recommendations for future directions.
PMCID: PMC3110683  PMID: 21289619
2.  Impact of GPCRs in clinical medicine: genetic variants and drug targets 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2006;1768(4):994-1005.
By virtue of their large number, widespread distribution and important roles in cell physiology and biochemistry, G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) play multiple important roles in clinical medicine. Here, we focus on 3 areas that subsume much of the recent work in this aspect of GPCR biology: 1) Monogenic diseases of GPCR; 2) Genetic variants of GPCR; and 3) Clinically useful pharmacological agonists and antagonists of GPCR. Diseases involving mutations of GPCR are rare, occurring in <1/1000 people, but disorders in which antibodies are directed against GPCR are more common. Genetic variants, especially single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), show substantial heterogeneity in frequency among different GPCRs but have not been evaluated for some GPCR. Many therapeutic agonists and antagonists target GPCR and show inter-subject variability in terms of efficacy and toxicity. For most of those agents, it remains an open question whether genetic variation in primary sequence of the GPCR is an important contributor to such inter-subject variability, although this is an active area of investigation.
PMCID: PMC2169201  PMID: 17081496
GPCR mutations; human disease; nephrogenic diabetes insipidus; retinitis pigmentosa
3.  Denatured G-Protein Coupled Receptors as Immunogens to Generate Highly Specific Antibodies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46348.
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) play a major role in a number of physiological and pathological processes. Thus, GPCRs have become the most frequent targets for development of new therapeutic drugs. In this context, the availability of highly specific antibodies may be decisive to obtain reliable findings on localization, function and medical relevance of GPCRs. However, the rapid and easy generation of highly selective anti-GPCR antibodies is still a challenge. Herein, we report that highly specific antibodies suitable for detection of GPCRs in native and unfolded forms can be elicited by immunizing animals against purified full length denatured recombinant GPCRs. Contrasting with the currently admitted postulate, our study shows that an active and well-folded GPCR is not required for the production of specific anti-GPCR antibodies. This new immunizing strategy validated with three different human GPCR (μ-opioid, κ-opioid, neuropeptide FF2 receptors) might be generalized to other members of the GPCR family.
PMCID: PMC3459905  PMID: 23029489
4.  Ubiquitin-dependent regulation of G protein-coupled receptor trafficking and signaling 
Cellular signalling  2012;25(3):707-716.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to one of the largest family of signaling receptors in the mammalian genome [1]. GPCRs elicit cellular responses to multiple diverse stimuli and play essential roles in human health and disease. GPCRs have important clinical implications in various diseases and are the targets of approximately 25–50% of all marketed drugs [2, 3]. Understanding how GPCRs are regulated is essential to delineating their role in normal physiology and in the pathophysiology of several diseases. Given the vast number and diversity of GPCRs, it is likely that multiple mechanisms exist to regulate GPCR function. While GPCR signaling is typically regulated by desensitization and endocytosis mediated by phosphorylation and β-arrestins, it can also be modulated by ubiquitination. Ubiquitination is emerging an important regulatory process that may have unique roles in governing GPCR trafficking and signaling. Recent studies have revealed a mechanistic link between GPCR phosphorylation, β-arrestins and ubiquitination that may be applicable to some GPCRs but not others. While the function of ubiquitination is generally thought to promote receptor endocytosis and endosomal sorting, recent studies have revealed that ubiquitination also plays an important role in positive regulation of GPCR signaling. Here, we will review recent developments in our understanding of how ubiquitin regulates GPCR endocytic trafficking and how it contributes to signal transduction induced by GPCR activation.
PMCID: PMC3593103  PMID: 23201781
G protein-coupled receptor; beta-arrestin; endocytosis; ubiquitination; ligase; sorting; lysosome; downregulation
5.  Enhancement of G Protein-Coupled Receptor Surface Expression 
Trends in biotechnology  2009;27(9):541-545.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate physiological responses to a diverse array of stimuli and are the molecular targets for numerous therapeutic drugs. GPCRs primarily signal from the plasma membrane, but when expressed in heterologous cells many GPCRs exhibit poor trafficking to the cell surface. Multiple approaches have been taken to enhance GPCR surface expression in heterologous cells, including addition/deletion of receptor sequences, co-expression with interacting proteins, and treatment with pharmacological chaperones. In addition to allowing for enhanced surface expression of certain GPCRs in heterologous cells, these approaches have also shed light on the control of GPCR trafficking in vivo and in some cases have led to new therapeutic approaches for treating human diseases that result from defects in GPCR trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2731006  PMID: 19679364
6.  Large-scale polymorphism discovery in macaque G-protein coupled receptors 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:703.
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) play an inordinately large role in human health. Variation in the genes that encode these receptors is associated with numerous disorders across the entire spectrum of disease. GPCRs also represent the single largest class of drug targets and associated pharmacogenetic effects are modulated, in part, by polymorphisms. Recently, non-human primate models have been developed focusing on naturally-occurring, functionally-parallel polymorphisms in candidate genes. This work aims to extend those studies broadly across the roughly 377 non-olfactory GPCRs. Initial efforts include resequencing 44 Indian-origin rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), 20 Chinese-origin rhesus macaques, and 32 cynomolgus macaques (M. fascicularis).
Using the Agilent target enrichment system, capture baits were designed for GPCRs off the human and rhesus exonic sequence. Using next generation sequencing technologies, nearly 25,000 SNPs were identified in coding sequences including over 14,000 non-synonymous and more than 9,500 synonymous protein-coding SNPs. As expected, regions showing the least evolutionary constraint show greater rates of polymorphism and greater numbers of higher frequency polymorphisms. While the vast majority of these SNPs are singletons, roughly 1,750 non-synonymous and 2,900 synonymous SNPs were found in multiple individuals.
In all three populations, polymorphism and divergence is highly concentrated in N-terminal and C-terminal domains and the third intracellular loop region of GPCRs, regions critical to ligand-binding and signaling. SNP frequencies in macaques follow a similar pattern of divergence from humans and new polymorphisms in primates have been identified that may parallel those seen in humans, helping to establish better non-human primate models of disease.
PMCID: PMC3907043  PMID: 24119066
Resequencing; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Indian-origin rhesus macaques; Chinese-origin rhesus macaques; Cynomolgus macaques
7.  G-protein-coupled receptors and melanoma 
Pigment cell & melanoma research  2008;21(4):415-428.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are the largest family of receptors with over 500 members. Evaluation of GPCR gene expression in primary human tumors identified over-expression of GPCR in several tumor types. Analysis of cancer samples in different disease stages also suggests that some GPCR may be involved in early tumor progression and others may play a critical role in tumor invasion and metastasis. Currently, >50% of drug targets to various human diseases are based on GPCR. In this review, the relationships between several GPCR and melanoma development and/or progression will be discussed. Finally, the possibility of using one or more of these GPCR as therapeutic targets in melanoma will be summarized.
PMCID: PMC2843908  PMID: 18582227
G-protein-coupled-receptors; oncogenes; melanocytes; melanoma
8.  Role of ORF74-Encoded Viral G Protein-Coupled Receptor in Human Herpesvirus 8 Lytic Replication▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(24):13009-13014.
The human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) viral G protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR) has been implicated in virus-associated disease pathogenesis due principally to its ability to induce the production of angiogenic cytokines involved in this process. However, the role of the vGPCR in normal virus biology is understudied and remains unknown. Here we provide evidence from vGPCR gene knockout and depletion experiments that vGPCR is a positive regulator of HHV-8 productive replication and, through experimental utilization of Gα-coupling variants of vGPCR, that signaling via Gαq activation and targeted mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways is of particular relevance to this activity.
PMCID: PMC2786835  PMID: 19793819
9.  G Protein βγ Subunits as Targets for Small Molecule Therapeutic Development 
G proteins mediate the action of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a major target of current pharmaceuticals and a major target of interest in future drug development. Most pharmaceutical interest has been in the development of selective GPCR agonists and antagonists that activate or inhibit specific GPCRs. Some recent thinking has focused on the idea that some pathologies are the result of the actions of an array of GPCRs suggesting that targeting single receptors may have limited efficacy. Thus, targeting pathways common to multiple GPCRs that control critical pathways involved in disease has potential therapeutic relevance. G protein βγ subunits released from some GPCRs upon receptor activation regulate a variety of downstream pathways to control various aspects of mammalian physiology. There is evidence from cell-based and animal models that excess Gβγ signaling can be detrimental and blocking Gβγ signaling has salutary effects in a number of pathological models. Gβγ regulates downstream pathways through modulation of enzymes that produce cellular second messengers or through regulation of ion channels by direct protein-protein interactions. Thus, blocking Gβγ functions requires development of small molecule agents that disrupt Gβγ protein interactions with downstream partners. Here we discuss evidence that small molecule targeting Gβγ could be of therapeutic value. The concept of disruption of protein-protein interactions by targeting a “hot spot” on Gβγ is delineated and the biochemical and virtual screening strategies for identification of small molecules that selectively target Gβγ functions are outlined. Evaluation of the effectiveness of virtual screening indicates that computational screening enhanced identification of true Gβγ binding molecules. However, further refinement of the approach could significantly improve the yield of Gβγ binding molecules from this screen that could result in multiple candidate leads for future drug development.
PMCID: PMC2688719  PMID: 18537559
G protein βγ subunits; GRK2ct; computational screening; G protein-coupled receptor; small molecule targeting; protein-protein interactions; G protein signaling
10.  Select Neuropeptides and their G-Protein Coupled Receptors in Caenorhabditis Elegans and Drosophila Melanogaster 
The G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) family is comprised of seven transmembrane domain proteins and play important roles in nerve transmission, locomotion, proliferation and development, sensory perception, metabolism, and neuromodulation. GPCR research has been targeted by drug developers as a consequence of the wide variety of critical physiological functions regulated by this protein family. Neuropeptide GPCRs are the least characterized of the GPCR family as genetic systems to characterize their functions have lagged behind GPCR gene discovery. Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans are genetic model organisms that have proved useful in characterizing neuropeptide GPCRs. The strength of a genetic approach leads to an appreciation of the behavioral plasticity that can result from subtle alterations in GPCRs or regulatory proteins in the pathways that GPCRs control. Many of these invertebrate neuropeptides, GPCRs, and signaling pathway components serve as models for mammalian counterparts as they have conserved sequences and function. This review provides an overview of the methods to match neuropeptides to their cognate receptor and a state of the art account of neuropeptide GPCRs that have been characterized in D. melanogaster and C. elegans and the behaviors that have been uncovered through genetic manipulation.
PMCID: PMC3414713  PMID: 22908006
invertebrate neuropeptides; G-protein coupled receptor; insects; nematodes; Caenorhabditis elegans; Drosophila melanogaster
11.  Heteromerization of G Protein-Coupled Receptors: Relevance to Neurological Disorders and Neurotherapeutics 
Because G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are numerous, widely expressed and involved in major physiological responses, they represent a relevant therapeutic target for drug discovery, particularly regarding pharmacological treatments of neurological disorders. Among the biological phenomena regulating receptor function, GPCR heteromerization is an important emerging area of interest and investigation. There is increasing evidence showing that heteromerization contributes to the pharmacological heterogeneity of GPCRs by modulating receptor ontogeny, activation and recycling. Although in many cases the physiological relevance of receptor heteromerization has not been fully established, the unique pharmacological and functional properties of heteromers are likely to lead to new strategies in clinical medicine. This review describes the main GPCR heteromers and their implications for major neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and addiction. A better understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying drug interactions related to the targeting of receptor heteromers could provide more specific and efficient therapeutic agents for the treatment of brain diseases.
PMCID: PMC3066024  PMID: 20632964
Heteromerization; heteromer; GPCR; neurological disorder; drug discovery
12.  Therapeutic antibodies directed at G protein-coupled receptors 
mAbs  2010;2(6):594-606.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are one of the most important classes of targets for small molecule drug discovery, but many current GPCRs of interest are proving intractable to small molecule discovery and may be better approached with bio-therapeutics. GPCRs are implicated in a wide variety of diseases where antibody therapeutics are currently used. These include inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn disease, as well as metabolic disease and cancer. Raising antibodies to GPCRs has been difficult due to problems in obtaining suitable antigen because GPCRs are often expressed at low levels in cells and are very unstable when purified. A number of new developments in overexpressing receptors, as well as formulating stable pure protein, are contributing to the growing interest in targeting GPCRs with antibodies. This review discusses the opportunities for targeting GPCRs with antibodies using these approaches and describes the therapeutic antibodies that are currently in clinical development.
PMCID: PMC3011214  PMID: 20864805
G protein-coupled receptor; transmembrane spanning domain; chemokine receptor; extracellular domain; extracellular loop
13.  Domain coupling in GPCRs: the engine for induced conformational changes 
Recent solved structures of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) provide insights into variation of the structure and molecular mechanisms of GPCR activation. In this review we provide evidence for the emerging paradigm of domain coupling facilitated by intrinsic disorder of the ligand-free state in GPCRs. The structure-function and dynamic studies suggest that ligand-bound GPCRs exhibit multiple active conformations in initiating cellular signals. Long-range intra-molecular and inter-molecular interactions at distant sites on the same receptor are crucial factors that modulate signaling function of GPCRs. Positive or negative coupling between the extracellular, the transmembrane and the intracellular domains facilitates cooperativity of activating “switches” as requirements for the functional plasticity of GPCRs. Awareness that allosteric ligands robustly affect domain coupling provides a novel mechanistic basis for rational drug development, small molecule antagonism and GPCR regulation by classical, as well as non-classical modes.
PMCID: PMC3273637  PMID: 22037017
14.  Heterodimerization and Surface Localization of G Protein Coupled Receptors 
Biochemical pharmacology  2006;73(8):1043-1050.
G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are one of the largest human gene families, and are targets for many important therapeutic drugs. Over the last few years, there has been a major paradigm shift in our understanding of how these receptors function. Formerly, GPCRs were thought to exist as monomers that, upon agonist occupation, activated a heterotrimeric G protein to alter the concentrations of specific second messengers. Until recently, this relatively linear cascade has been the standard paradigm for signaling by these molecules. However, it is now clear that this model is not adequate to explain many aspects of GPCR function. We now know that many, if not most, GPCRs form homo- and/or hetero-oligomeric complexes and interact directly with intracellular proteins in addition to G proteins. It now appears that many GPCRs may not function independently, but might more accurately be described as subunits of large multi-protein signaling complexes. These observations raise many important new questions; some of which include: 1) How many functionally and pharmacologically distinct receptor subtypes exist in vivo? 2) Which GPCRs physically associate, and in what stochiometries? 3) What are the roles of individual subunits in binding ligand and activating responses? 4) Are the pharmacological or signaling properties of GPCR heterodimers different from monomers? Since these receptors are the targets for a large number of clinically useful compounds, such information is likely to be of direct therapeutic importance, both in understanding how existing drugs work, but also in discovering novel compounds to treat disease.
PMCID: PMC1876675  PMID: 17011524
GPCRs; dimerization; oligomerization; cross-talk; pharmacology; signaling
15.  The G protein-coupled receptor subset of the dog genome is more similar to that in humans than rodents 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:24.
The dog is an important model organism and it is considered to be closer to humans than rodents regarding metabolism and responses to drugs. The close relationship between humans and dogs over many centuries has lead to the diversity of the canine species, important genetic discoveries and an appreciation of the effects of old age in another species. The superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is one of the largest gene families in most mammals and the most exploited in terms of drug discovery. An accurate comparison of the GPCR repertoires in dog and human is valuable for the prediction of functional similarities and differences between the species.
We searched the dog genome for non-olfactory GPCRs and obtained 353 full-length GPCR gene sequences, 18 incomplete sequences and 13 pseudogenes. We established relationships between human, dog, rat and mouse GPCRs resolving orthologous pairs and species-specific duplicates. We found that 12 dog GPCR genes are missing in humans while 24 human GPCR genes are not part of the dog GPCR repertoire. There is a higher number of orthologous pairs between dog and human that are conserved as compared with either mouse or rat. In almost all cases the differences observed between the dog and human genomes coincide with other variations in the rodent species. Several GPCR gene expansions characteristic for rodents are not found in dog.
The repertoire of dog non-olfactory GPCRs is more similar to the repertoire in humans as compared with the one in rodents. The comparison of the dog, human and rodent repertoires revealed several examples of species-specific gene duplications and deletions. This information is useful in the selection of model organisms for pharmacological experiments.
PMCID: PMC2651185  PMID: 19146662
16.  Human 5–HT4 and 5–HT7 Receptor Splice Variants: Are they Important? 
Current Neuropharmacology  2007;5(4):224-231.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are encoded by >300 genes in the human genome, are by far the largest class of targets for modern drugs. These macromolecules display inherent adaptability of function, which is partly due to the production of different forms of the receptor protein. These are commonly called ‘isoforms’ or ‘splice variants’ denoting the molecular process of their production/assembly. Not all GPCRs are expressed as splice variants, but certain subclasses of 5–HT receptors are for example, the 5–HT4 and 5–HT7 receptors. There are at least 11 human 5–HT4 and three h5–HT7 receptor splice variants. This review describestheir discoveries, nomenclature and structures. The discovery that particular splice variants are tissue specific (or prominent) has highlighted their potential as future drug targets. In particular, this review examines the functional relevance of different 5–HT4 and 5–HT7 receptor splice variants. Examples are given to illustrate that splice variants have differential modulatory influences on signalling processes. Differences in agonist potency and efficacies and also differences in desensitisation rates to 5–HT occur with both 5–HT4 and 5–HT7 receptor splice variants. The known and candidate signalling systems that allow for splice variant specific responses include GPCR interacting proteins (GIPs) and GPCR receptor kinases (GRKs) which are examined.Finally, the relevance of 5–HT receptor splice variants to clinical medicine and to the pharmaceutical industry is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2644495  PMID: 19305739
Serotonin receptors; GPCR receptor isoforms; GPCR receptor splice variants; GPCR interacting proteins; desensitisation; functional intestinal disorders; irritable bowel syndrome.
17.  Allosteric modulators of GPCRs: a novel approach for the treatment of CNS disorders 
Despite G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) being among the most fruitful targets for marketed drugs, intense discovery efforts for several GPCR subtypes have failed to deliver selective drug candidates. Historically, drug discovery programmes for GPCR ligands have been dominated by efforts to develop agonists and antagonists that act at orthosteric sites for endogenous ligands. However, in recent years, there have been tremendous advances in the discovery of novel ligands for GPCRs that act at allosteric sites to regulate receptor function. These compounds provide high selectivity, novel modes of efficacy and may lead to novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of multiple psychiatric and neurological human disorders.
PMCID: PMC2907734  PMID: 19116626
18.  Structure-based drug screening for G protein-coupled receptors 
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent a large family of signaling proteins that includes many therapeutic targets; however, progress in identifying new small molecule drugs has been disappointing. The past four years have seen remarkable progress in the structural biology of GPCRs, raising the possibility of applying structure-based approaches to GPCR drug discovery efforts. Of the various structure-based approaches that have been applied to soluble protein targets, such as proteases and kinases, in silico docking is among the most ready applicable to GPCRs. Early studies suggest that GPCR binding pockets are well suited to docking, and docking screens have identified potent and novel compounds for these targets. This review will focus on the current state of in silico docking for GPCRs.
PMCID: PMC3523194  PMID: 22503476
19.  The Origins of Diversity and Specificity in G Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling 
The modulation of transmembrane signaling by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitutes the single most important therapeutic target in medicine. Drugs acting on GPCRs have traditionally been classified as agonists, partial agonists, or antagonists based on a two-state model of receptor function embodied in the ternary complex model. Over the past decade, however, many lines of investigation have shown that GPCR signaling exhibits greater diversity and “texture” than previously appreciated. Signal diversity arises from numerous factors, among which are the ability of receptors to adopt multiple “active” states with different effector-coupling profiles; the formation of receptor dimers that exhibit unique pharmacology, signaling, and trafficking; the dissociation of receptor “activation” from desensitization and internalization; and the discovery that non-G protein effectors mediate some aspects of GPCR signaling. At the same time, clustering of GPCRs with their downstream effectors in membrane microdomains and interactions between receptors and a plethora of multidomain scaffolding proteins and accessory/chaperone molecules confer signal preorganization, efficiency, and specificity. In this context, the concept of agonist-selective trafficking of receptor signaling, which recognizes that a bound ligand may select between a menu of active receptor conformations and induce only a subset of the possible response profile, presents the opportunity to develop drugs that change the quality as well as the quantity of efficacy. As a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of GPCR signaling is developed, the rational design of ligands possessing increased specific efficacy and attenuated side effects may become the standard mode of drug development.
PMCID: PMC2656918  PMID: 15805429
20.  DNA Display Selection of Peptide Ligands for a Full-Length Human G Protein-Coupled Receptor on CHO-K1 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30084.
The G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which form the largest group of transmembrane proteins involved in signal transduction, are major targets of currently available drugs. Thus, the search for cognate and surrogate peptide ligands for GPCRs is of both basic and therapeutic interest. Here we describe the application of an in vitro DNA display technology to screening libraries of peptide ligands for full-length GPCRs expressed on whole cells. We used human angiotensin II (Ang II) type-1 receptor (hAT1R) as a model GPCR. Under improved selection conditions using hAT1R-expressing Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-K1 cells as bait, we confirmed that Ang II gene could be enriched more than 10,000-fold after four rounds of selection. Further, we successfully selected diverse Ang II-like peptides from randomized peptide libraries. The results provide more precise information on the sequence-function relationships of hAT1R ligands than can be obtained by conventional alanine-scanning mutagenesis. Completely in vitro DNA display can overcome the limitations of current display technologies and is expected to prove widely useful for screening diverse libraries of mutant peptide and protein ligands for receptors that can be expressed functionally on the surface of CHO-K1 cells.
PMCID: PMC3254644  PMID: 22253889
21.  Reduced Food Intake and Body Weight in Mice Deficient for the G Protein-Coupled Receptor GPR82 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29400.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are involved in the regulation of numerous physiological functions. Therefore, GPCR variants may have conferred important selective advantages during periods of human evolution. Indeed, several genomic loci with signatures of recent selection in humans contain GPCR genes among them the X-chromosomally located gene for GPR82. This gene encodes a so-called orphan GPCR with unknown function. To address the functional relevance of GPR82 gene-deficient mice were characterized. GPR82-deficient mice were viable, reproduced normally, and showed no gross anatomical abnormalities. However, GPR82-deficient mice have a reduced body weight and body fat content associated with a lower food intake. Moreover, GPR82-deficient mice showed decreased serum triacylglyceride levels, increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, most pronounced under Western diet. Because there were no differences in respiratory and metabolic rates between wild-type and GPR82-deficient mice our data suggest that GPR82 function influences food intake and, therefore, energy and body weight balance. GPR82 may represent a thrifty gene most probably representing an advantage during human expansion into new environments.
PMCID: PMC3247265  PMID: 22216272
22.  GOMoDo: A GPCRs Online Modeling and Docking Webserver 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74092.
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a superfamily of cell signaling membrane proteins that include >750 members in the human genome alone. They are the largest family of drug targets. The vast diversity and relevance of GPCRs contrasts with the paucity of structures available: only 21 unique GPCR structures have been experimentally determined as of the beginning of 2013. User-friendly modeling and small molecule docking tools are thus in great demand. While both GPCR structural predictions and docking servers exist separately, with GOMoDo (GPCR Online Modeling and Docking), we provide a web server to seamlessly model GPCR structures and dock ligands to the models in a single consistent pipeline. GOMoDo can automatically perform template choice, homology modeling and either blind or information-driven docking by combining together proven, state of the art bioinformatic tools. The web server gives the user the possibility of guiding the whole procedure. The GOMoDo server is freely accessible at
PMCID: PMC3772745  PMID: 24058518
23.  A Computationally Designed Water-Soluble Variant of a G-Protein-Coupled Receptor: The Human Mu Opioid Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66009.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) play essential roles in various physiological processes, and are widely targeted by pharmaceutical drugs. Despite their importance, studying GPCRs has been problematic due to difficulties in isolating large quantities of these membrane proteins in forms that retain their ligand binding capabilities. Creating water-soluble variants of GPCRs by mutating the exterior, transmembrane residues provides a potential method to overcome these difficulties. Here we present the first study involving the computational design, expression and characterization of water-soluble variant of a human GPCR, the human mu opioid receptor (MUR), which is involved in pain and addiction. An atomistic structure of the transmembrane domain was built using comparative (homology) modeling and known GPCR structures. This structure was highly similar to the subsequently determined structure of the murine receptor and was used to computationally design 53 mutations of exterior residues in the transmembrane region, yielding a variant intended to be soluble in aqueous media. The designed variant expressed in high yield in Escherichia coli and was water soluble. The variant shared structural and functionally related features with the native human MUR, including helical secondary structure and comparable affinity for the antagonist naltrexone (Kd  = 65 nM). The roles of cholesterol and disulfide bonds on the stability of the receptor variant were also investigated. This study exemplifies the potential of the computational approach to produce water-soluble variants of GPCRs amenable for structural and functionally related characterization in aqueous solution.
PMCID: PMC3682944  PMID: 23799068
24.  Modern Homology Modeling of G-Protein Coupled Receptors: Which Structural Template to Use? 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(16):5207-5216.
The recent availability in the literature of new crystal structures of inactive G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) prompted us to study the extent to which these crystal structures constitute an advantage over the former prototypic rhodopsin template for homology modeling of the transmembrane (TM) region of human class A GPCRs. Our results suggest that better templates than those currently available are required by the majority of these GPCRs to generate homology models that are accurate enough for simple virtual screening aimed at computer-aided drug discovery. Thus, we investigated: 1) which class A GPCRs would have the highest impact as potential templates for homology modeling of other GPCRs, if their structures were solved; and 2) the extent to which multiple-template homology modeling (using all currently available GPCR crystal structures) provides an improvement over single-template homology modeling, as evaluated by the accuracy of rigid protein-flexible ligand docking on these models.
PMCID: PMC2891345  PMID: 19627087
25.  Cross-Genome Clustering of Human and C. elegans G-Protein Coupled Receptors 
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are one of the largest groups of membrane proteins and are popular drug targets. The work reported here attempts to perform cross-genome phylogeny on GPCRs from two widely different taxa, human versus C. elegans genomes and to address the issues on evolutionary plasticity, to identify functionally related genes, orthologous relationship, and ligand binding properties through effective bioinformatic approaches. Through RPS blast around 1106 nematode GPCRs were given chance to associate with previously established 8 types of human GPCR profiles at varying E-value thresholds and resulted 32 clusters were illustrating co-clustering and class-specific retainsionship. In the significant thresholds, 81% of the C. elegans GPCRs were associated with 32 clusters and 27 C. elegans GPCRs (2%) inferred for orthology. 177 hypothetical proteins were observed in cluster association and could be reliably associated with one of 32 clusters. Several nematode-specific GPCR clades were observed suggesting lineage-specific functional recruitment in response to environment.
PMCID: PMC3396462  PMID: 22807621
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); serpentine receptors; PSSM profile; cross-genome clustering; phylogeny

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