From allosteric drugs to allo-network drugs: state of the art and trends of design, synthesis and computational methods

Curr Top Med Chem. 2013;13(1):2-4. doi: 10.2174/1568026611313010002.


Allosteric drugs bind to sites which are usually less conserved evolutionarily as compared to orthosteric sites. As such, they can discriminate between closely related proteins, have fewer side effects, and a consequent lower concentration can convey a lesser likelihood of receptor desensitization. However, an allosteric mode of action may also make the results of preclinical and animal experiments less predictive. The sensitivity of the allosteric consequences to the environment further increases the importance of accounting for patient population diversity. Even subtle differences in protein sequence, in cellular metabolic states or in target tissues, can result in different outcomes. This mini-hot-topic issue of CTMC showcases some successes and challenges of allosteric drug development through the examples of seventransmembrane (GPCR), AMPA, NMDA and metabotropic glutamate receptors, as well as the morpheein model of allosterism involved in inherent metabolic errors. Finally, the development of allo-network drugs, which are allosteric drugs acting indirectly on the neighborhood of the pharmacological target in protein-protein interaction or signaling networks, is described.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation / drug effects
  • Allosteric Site / drug effects*
  • Drug Design
  • Drugs, Investigational / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled