Generic GPCR residue numbers - aligning topology maps while minding the gaps

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2015 Jan;36(1):22-31. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Dec 22.


Generic residue numbers facilitate comparisons of, for example, mutational effects, ligand interactions, and structural motifs. The numbering scheme by Ballesteros and Weinstein for residues within the class A GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) has more than 1100 citations, and the recent crystal structures for classes B, C, and F now call for a community consensus in residue numbering within and across these classes. Furthermore, the structural era has uncovered helix bulges and constrictions that offset the generic residue numbers. The use of generic residue numbers depends on convenient access by pharmacologists, chemists, and structural biologists. We review the generic residue numbering schemes for each GPCR class, as well as a complementary structure-based scheme, and provide illustrative examples and GPCR database (GPCRDB) web tools to number any receptor sequence or structure.

Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor; ligand binding; mutational effects; sequence alignments; structural motifs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / classification
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled