Structural modeling of G-protein coupled receptors: An overview on automatic web-servers

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2016 Aug;77(Pt B):264-74. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Apr 19.


Despite the significant efforts and discoveries during the last few years in G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) expression and crystallization, the receptors with known structures to date are limited only to a small fraction of human GPCRs. The lack of experimental three-dimensional structures of the receptors represents a strong limitation that hampers a deep understanding of their function. Computational techniques are thus a valid alternative strategy to model three-dimensional structures. Indeed, recent advances in the field, together with extraordinary developments in crystallography, in particular due to its ability to capture GPCRs in different activation states, have led to encouraging results in the generation of accurate models. This, prompted the community of modelers to render their methods publicly available through dedicated databases and web-servers. Here, we present an extensive overview on these services, focusing on their advantages, drawbacks and their role in successful applications. Future challenges in the field of GPCR modeling, such as the predictions of long loop regions and the modeling of receptor activation states are presented as well.

Keywords: Database; G Protein-coupled receptor; Homology modeling; Structural bioinformatics; Web server.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Automation
  • Databases, Protein
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled