Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5: molecular pharmacology, allosteric modulation and stimulus bias

Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Oct;173(20):3001-17. doi: 10.1111/bph.13281. Epub 2015 Nov 11.


The metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5 ) is a family C GPCR that has been implicated in various neuronal processes and, consequently, in several CNS disorders. Over the past few decades, GPCR-based drug discovery, including that for mGlu5 receptors, has turned considerable attention to targeting allosteric binding sites. Modulation of endogenous agonists by allosteric ligands offers the advantages of spatial and temporal fine-tuning of receptor activity, increased selectivity and reduced adverse effects with the potential to elicit improved clinical outcomes. Further, with greater appreciation of the multifaceted nature of the transduction of mGlu5 receptor signalling, it is increasingly apparent that drug discovery must take into consideration unique receptor conformations and the potential for stimulus-bias. This novel paradigm proposes that different ligands may differentially modulate distinct signalling pathways arising from the same receptor. We review our current understanding of the complexities of mGlu5 receptor signalling and regulation, and how these relate to allosteric ligands. Ultimately, a deeper appreciation of these relationships will provide the foundation for targeted drug design of compounds with increased selectivity, not only for the desired receptor but also for the desired signalling outcome from the receptor. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on Molecular Pharmacology of G Protein-Coupled Receptors. To view the other articles in this section visit

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5 / agonists*
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Ligands
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5