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Endocr J. 2017 Jun 29;64(6):571-579. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ17-0130. Epub 2017 May 13.

G-protein-coupled receptor signaling through Gpr176, Gz, and RGS16 tunes time in the center of the circadian clock [Review].

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Department of Systems Biology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute an immensely important class of drug targets with diverse clinical applications. There are still more than 120 orphan GPCRs whose cognate ligands and physiological functions are not known. A set of circadian pacemaker neurons that governs daily rhythms in behavior and physiology resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain. Malfunction of the circadian clock has been linked to a multitude of diseases, such as sleeping disorders, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, which makes the clock an attractive target for drug development. Here, we review a recently identified role of Gpr176 in the SCN. Gpr176 is an SCN-enriched orphan GPCR that sets the pace of the circadian clock in the SCN. Even without known ligand, this orphan receptor has an agonist-independent basal activity to reduce cAMP signaling. A unique cAMP-repressing G-protein subclass Gz is required for the activity of Gpr176. We also provide an overview on the circadian regulation of G-protein signaling, with an emphasis on a role for the regulator of G-protein signaling 16 (RGS16). RGS16 is indispensable for the circadian regulation of cAMP in the SCN. Developing drugs that target the SCN remains an unfulfilled opportunity for the circadian pharmacology. This review argues for the potential impact of focusing on GPCRs in the SCN for the purpose of tuning the body clock.


Circadian clock; Gpr176; Gz; Orphan GPCR; RGS16

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