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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2012 Mar;33(3):372-84. doi: 10.1038/aps.2011.173. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Tools for GPCR drug discovery.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Signaling and Disease Research, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University, China.


G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate many important physiological functions and are considered as one of the most successful therapeutic targets for a broad spectrum of diseases. The design and implementation of high-throughput GPCR assays that allow the cost-effective screening of large compound libraries to identify novel drug candidates are critical in early drug discovery. Early functional GPCR assays depend primarily on the measurement of G-protein-mediated 2nd messenger generation. Taking advantage of the continuously deepening understanding of GPCR signal transduction, many G-protein-independent pathways are utilized to detect the activity of GPCRs, and may provide additional information on functional selectivity of candidate compounds. With the combination of automated imaging systems and label-free detection systems, such assays are now suitable for high-throughput screening (HTS). In this review, we summarize the most widely used GPCR assays and recent advances in HTS technologies for GPCR drug discovery.

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