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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;857:259-79. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-588-6_11.

Homology modeling of class a G protein-coupled receptors.

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Laboratory of Biological Modeling, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, USA.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large superfamily of membrane bound signaling proteins that hold great pharmaceutical interest. Since experimentally elucidated structures are available only for a very limited number of receptors, homology modeling has become a widespread technique for the construction of GPCR models intended to study the structure-function relationships of the receptors and aid the discovery and development of ligands capable of modulating their activity. Through this chapter, various aspects involved in the constructions of homology models of the serpentine domain of the largest class of GPCRs, known as class A or rhodopsin family, are illustrated. In particular, the chapter provides suggestions, guidelines, and critical thoughts on some of the most crucial aspect of GPCR modeling, including: collection of candidate templates and a structure-based alignment of their sequences; identification and alignment of the transmembrane helices of the query receptor to the corresponding domains of the candidate templates; selection of one or more templates receptor; election of homology or de novo modeling for the construction of specific extracellular and intracellular domains; construction of the 3D models, with special consideration to extracellular regions, disulfide bridges, and interhelical cavity; validation of the models through controlled virtual screening experiments.

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