Allosteric modulators of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors: novel subtype-selective ligands and therapeutic perspectives

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2002 Feb;2(1):43-9. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4892(01)00119-9.


Recent drug discovery programs aimed at identifying selective metabotropic mGlu receptor ligands by high-throughput functional screening efforts have revealed subtype-selective allosteric modulators of mGlu1 and mGlu5 receptors that are structurally unrelated to glutamate. In contrast to competitive ligands, which bind to the glutamate binding site located in the large N-terminal extracellular domain, these modulators act as non-competitive antagonists, inverse agonists or positive modulators by binding to specific residues in the seven-transmembrane domain. More recent studies to assess the potential of these compounds in in vivo models of nervous system disorders have implicated the mGlu5 receptor subtype as a potentially important therapeutic target for inflammatory pain, anxiety, Parkinson's disease and drug abuse, and mGlu1 and mGlu5 receptors as potential targets for anticonvulsant and neuroprotective therapies. Very recent findings indicate an important regulatory role for intracellular proteins interacting with metabotropic glutamate receptors, which might constitute novel drug targets for modulating metabotropic glutamate receptor activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation / drug effects
  • Allosteric Regulation / physiology
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / metabolism*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / agonists*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / physiology


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1