G protein-coupled receptors and their signaling pathways: classical therapeutical targets susceptible to novel therapeutic concepts

Curr Pharm Des. 2004;10(16):1937-58. doi: 10.2174/1381612043384367.


In recent years, new strategies in cancer therapy have been developed targeting key signaling molecules in the receptor tyrosine kinase signal transduction pathway. In contrast, most therapeutical concepts to manipulate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR)-mediated disorders are still limited to the use of receptor-specific agonists or antagonists. Visible progress in the understanding of GPCR signaling complexity, especially the detection of several families of highly target- and cell-specific regulator proteins of GPCRs, G proteins, and effector components may open new horizons to develop novel therapeutical concepts targeting GPCR signaling elements. Thus, this review will focus on different molecular levels that may be of particular interest in terms of new drug development such as: (i) GPCR subtypes, allosteric binding sites, dimerization and constitutive activity, the use of RAMPs (receptor-activity-modifying proteins) and RASSLs (receptor activated solely by synthetic ligands); (ii) AGS (activators of G protein signaling) and RGS (regulators of G protein signaling) proteins which modify G protein activity; (iii) the high diversity of isozymes involved in the generation, signal transmission, and degradation of second messenger molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / agonists
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • GTP-Binding Proteins