Structure, pharmacology and therapeutic prospects of family C G-protein coupled receptors

Curr Drug Targets. 2007 Jan;8(1):169-84. doi: 10.2174/138945007779315614.


Family C of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) from humans is constituted by eight metabotropic glutamate (mGlu(1-8)) receptors, two heterodimeric gamma-aminobutyric acid(B) (GABA(B)) receptors, a calcium-sensing receptor (CaR), three taste (T1R) receptors, a promiscuous L-alpha-amino acid receptor (GPRC6A), and five orphan receptors. Aside from the orphan receptors, the family C GPCRs are characterised by a large amino-terminal domain, which bind the endogenous orthosteric agonists. Recently, a number of allosteric modulators binding to the seven transmembrane domains of the receptors have also been reported. Family C GPCRs regulate a number of important physiological functions and are thus intensively pursued as drug targets. So far, two drugs acting at family C receptors (the GABA(B) agonist baclofen and the positive allosteric CaR modulator cinacalcet) have been marketed. Cinacalcet is the first allosteric GPCR modulator to enter the market, which demonstrates that the therapeutic principle of allosteric modulation can also be extended to this important drug target class. In this review we outline the structure and function of family C GPCRs with particular focus on the ligand binding sites, and we present the most important pharmacological agents and the therapeutic prospects of the receptors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / chemistry
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / classification*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, GABA-B / chemistry
  • Receptors, GABA-B / metabolism
  • Receptors, GABA-B / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / chemistry
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / therapeutic use


  • GPRC6A protein, human
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, GABA-B
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • taste receptors, type 1