Flavonoid allosteric modulation of mutated visual rhodopsin associated with retinitis pigmentosa

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 11;7(1):11167. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11391-x.


Dietary flavonoids exhibit many biologically-relevant functions and can potentially have beneficial effects in the treatment of pathological conditions. In spite of its well known antioxidant properties, scarce structural information is available on the interaction of flavonoids with membrane receptors. Advances in the structural biology of a specific class of membrane receptors, the G protein-coupled receptors, have significantly increased our understanding of drug action and paved the way for developing improved therapeutic approaches. We have analyzed the effect of the flavonoid quercetin on the conformation, stability and function of the G protein-coupled receptor rhodopsin, and the G90V mutant associated with the retinal degenerative disease retinitis pigmentosa. By using a combination of experimental and computational methods, we suggest that quercetin can act as an allosteric modulator of opsin regenerated with 9-cis-retinal and more importantly, that this binding has a positive effect on the stability and conformational properties of the G90V mutant associated with retinitis pigmentosa. These results open new possibilities to use quercetin and other flavonoids, in combination with specific retinoids like 9-cis-retinal, for the treatment of retinal degeneration associated with retinitis pigmentosa. Moreover, the use of flavonoids as allosteric modulators may also be applicable to other members of the G protein-coupled receptors superfamily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Mutant Proteins / chemistry
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Quercetin / metabolism
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / pathology*
  • Rhodopsin / chemistry
  • Rhodopsin / genetics
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism*


  • Flavonoids
  • Mutant Proteins
  • Rhodopsin
  • Quercetin