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Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Aug;27(8):1177-87. doi: 10.1210/me.2013-1085. Epub 2013 May 17.

Minireview: The effects of species ortholog and SNP variation on receptors for free fatty acids.

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  • 1Molecular Pharmacology Group, Institute of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Although it is widely assumed that species orthologs of hormone-responsive G protein-coupled receptors will be activated by the same endogenously produced ligand(s), variation in potency, particularly in cases in which more than 1 receptor responds to the same hormone, can result in challenges in defining the contribution of individual receptors in different species. This can create considerably greater issues when using synthetic chemical ligands and, in some cases, may result in a complete lack of efficacy of such a ligand when used in animal models of pathophysiology. In man, the concept that distinct responses of individuals to medicines may reflect differences in the ability of such drugs to bind to or activate single nucleotide polymorphism variants of receptors is more established as a concept but, in many cases, clear links between such variants that are associated with disease phenotypes and substantial differences in receptor ligand pharmacology have been more difficult to obtain. Herein we consider each of these issues for the group of free fatty acid receptors, FFA1-FFA4, defined to be activated by free fatty acids of varying chain length, which, based on their production by 1 tissue or location and action in distinct locations, have been suggested to possess characteristics of hormones.

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