Biased signalling and allosteric machines: new vistas and challenges for drug discovery

Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;165(6):1659-1669. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01749.x.


Seven transmembrane receptors (7TMRs) are nature's prototype allosteric proteins made to bind molecules at one location to subsequently change their shape to affect the binding of another molecule at another location. This paper attempts to describe the divergent 7TMR behaviours (i.e. third party allostery, receptor oligomerization, biased agonism) observed in pharmacology in terms of a homogeneous group of allosteric behaviours. By considering the bodies involved as a vector defined by a modulator, conduit and guest, these activities can all be described by a simple model of functional allostery made up of the Ehlert allosteric model and the Black/Leff operational model. It will be shown how this model yields parameters that can be used to characterize the activity of any ligand or protein producing effect through allosteric interaction with a 7TMR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor