Allosteric interactions play vital roles in metabolic processes and signal transduction and, more recently, have become the focus of numerous pharmacological studies because of the potential for discovering more target-selective chemical probes and therapeutic agents. In addition to classic early studies on enzymes, there are now examples of small molecule allosteric modulators for all superfamilies of receptors encoded by the genome, including ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels, G protein-coupled receptors, nuclear hormone receptors, and receptor tyrosine kinases. As a consequence, a vast array of pharmacologic behaviors has been ascribed to allosteric ligands that can vary in a target-, ligand-, and cell-/tissue-dependent manner. The current article presents an overview of allostery as applied to receptor families and approaches for detecting and validating allosteric interactions and gives recommendations for the nomenclature of allosteric ligands and their properties.
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