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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2004 Aug;25(8):413-22.

Historical review: a brief history and personal retrospective of seven-transmembrane receptors.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Room 468, CARL Bldg., Research Drive, DUMC Box 3821, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Pharmacologists have studied receptors for more than a century but a molecular understanding of their properties has emerged only during the past 30-35 years. In this article, I provide a personal retrospective of how developments and discoveries primarily during the 1970s and 1980s led to current concepts about the largest group of receptors, the superfamily of seven-transmembrane (7TM) receptors [also known as G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)]. Significant technical advances such as the development of methods for radioligand binding, solubilization and purification of the beta(2)-adrenoceptor and other adrenoceptors led to the cloning of receptor genes and the discovery of their 7TM architecture and homology with rhodopsin. A universal mechanism of receptor regulation by G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and arrestins, originally discovered as a means of "desensitizing" G-protein-mediated second-messenger generation, was subsequently found to mediate both receptor endocytosis and activation of a growing list of signaling pathways such as those involving mitogen-activated protein kinases. Numerous opportunities for novel therapeutics should emerge from current and future research on 7TM receptor biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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