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Adv Protein Chem. 2007;74:137-66.

Activation of G protein-coupled receptors.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate responses to hormones and neurotransmitters, as well as the senses of sight, smell, and taste. These remarkably versatile signaling molecules respond to structurally diverse ligands. Many GPCRs couple to multiple G protein subtypes, and several have been shown to activate G protein-independent signaling pathways. Drugs acting on GPCRs exhibit efficacy profiles that may differ for different signaling cascades. The functional plasticity exhibited by GPCRs can be attributed to structural flexibility and the existence of multiple ligand-specific conformational states. This chapter will review our current understanding of the mechanism by which agonists bind and activate GPCRs.

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