Increasingly accurate dynamic molecular models of G-protein coupled receptor oligomers: Panacea or Pandora's box for novel drug discovery?

Life Sci. 2010 Apr 10;86(15-16):590-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 May 22.


For years, conventional drug design at G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) has mainly focused on the inhibition of a single receptor at a usually well-defined ligand-binding site. The recent discovery of more and more physiologically relevant GPCR dimers/oligomers suggests that selectively targeting these complexes or designing small molecules that inhibit receptor-receptor interactions might provide new opportunities for novel drug discovery. To uncover the fundamental mechanisms and dynamics governing GPCR dimerization/oligomerization, it is crucial to understand the dynamic process of receptor-receptor association, and to identify regions that are suitable for selective drug binding. This minireview highlights current progress in the development of increasingly accurate dynamic molecular models of GPCR oligomers based on structural, biochemical, and biophysical information that has recently appeared in the literature. In view of this new information, there has never been a more exciting time for computational research into GPCRs than at present. Information-driven modern molecular models of GPCR complexes are expected to efficiently guide the rational design of GPCR oligomer-specific drugs, possibly allowing researchers to reach for the high-hanging fruits in GPCR drug discovery, i.e. more potent and selective drugs for efficient therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Dimerization
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled