Class B GPCRs of the secretin family are important drug targets in many human diseases including diabetes, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and psychiatric disorders. X-ray crystal structures for the glucagon receptor and corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 have now been published. In this review, we analyse the new structures and how they compare with each other and with Class A and F receptors. We also consider the differences in druggability and possible similarity in the activation mechanisms. Finally, we discuss the potential for the design of small-molecule modulators for these important targets in drug discovery. This new structural insight allows, for the first time, structure-based drug design methods to be applied to Class B GPCRs.
Keywords: CRF1 receptor; Class B; GPCR; GPCR molecular signature; HHM; druggability; glucagon receptor; smoothened receptor.
© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.