Dynamic ligand binding dictates partial agonism at a G protein-coupled receptor

Nat Chem Biol. 2014 Jan;10(1):18-20. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1384. Epub 2013 Nov 10.


We present a new concept of partial agonism at G protein-coupled receptors. We demonstrate the coexistence of two functionally distinct populations of the muscarinic M2 receptor stabilized by one dynamic ligand, which binds in two opposite orientations. The ratio of orientations determines the cellular response. Our concept allows predicting and virtually titrating ligand efficacy, which opens unprecedented opportunities for the design of drugs with graded activation of the biological system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled

Associated data

  • PubChem-Substance/164193886
  • PubChem-Substance/164193887
  • PubChem-Substance/164193888
  • PubChem-Substance/164193889
  • PubChem-Substance/164193890
  • PubChem-Substance/164193891
  • PubChem-Substance/164193892
  • PubChem-Substance/164193893
  • PubChem-Substance/164193894
  • PubChem-Substance/164193895
  • PubChem-Substance/164193896
  • PubChem-Substance/164193897
  • PubChem-Substance/164193898