Family-B G-protein-coupled receptors

Genome Biol. 2001;2(12):REVIEWS3013. doi: 10.1186/gb-2001-2-12-reviews3013. Epub 2001 Nov 23.


All G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) share a common molecular architecture (with seven putative transmembrane segments) and a common signaling mechanism, in that they interact with G proteins (heterotrimeric GTPases) to regulate the synthesis of intracellular second messengers such as cyclic AMP, inositol phosphates, diacylglycerol and calcium ions. Historically, GPCRs have been classified into six families, which were thought to be unrelated; three of these are found in vertebrates. Recent work has identified several new GCPR families and suggested the possibility of a common evolutionary origin for all of them. Family B (the secretin-receptor family or 'family 2') of the GPCRs is a small but structurally and functionally diverse group of proteins that includes receptors for polypeptide hormones, molecules thought to mediate intercellular interactions at the plasma membrane and a group of Drosophila proteins that regulate stress responses and longevity. Family-B GPCRs have been found in all animal species investigated, including mammals, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster, but not in plants, fungi or prokaryotes. In this article, I describe the structures and functions of family-B GPCRs and propose a simplified nomenclature for these proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / classification*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / chemistry
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / classification
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone
  • secretin receptor
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins