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Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2001 Sep;4(5):561-74.

G protein-coupled receptor drug discovery: implications from the crystal structure of rhodopsin.

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  • 1Novasite Pharmaceuticals Inc., 3520 Dunhill Street, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a functionally diverse group of membrane proteins that play a critical role in signal transduction. Because of the lack of a high-resolution structure, the heptahelical transmembrane bundle within the N-terminal extracellular and C-terminal intracellular region of these receptors has initially been modeled based on the high-resolution structure of bacterial retinal-binding protein, bacteriorhodopsin. However, the low-resolution structure of rhodopsin, a prototypical GPCR, revealed that there is a minor relationship between GPCRs and bacteriorhodopsins. The high-resolution crystal structure of the rhodopsin ground state and further refinements of the model provide the first structural information about the entire organization of the polypeptide chain and post-translational moieties. These studies provide a structural template for Family 1 GPCRs that has the potential to significantly improve structure-based approaches to GPCR drug discovery.

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