Structure-inspired design of β-arrestin-biased ligands for aminergic GPCRs

Nat Chem Biol. 2018 Feb;14(2):126-134. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2527. Epub 2017 Dec 11.


Development of biased ligands targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is a promising approach for current drug discovery. Although structure-based drug design of biased agonists remains challenging even with an abundance of GPCR crystal structures, we present an approach for translating GPCR structural data into β-arrestin-biased ligands for aminergic GPCRs. We identified specific amino acid-ligand contacts at transmembrane helix 5 (TM5) and extracellular loop 2 (EL2) responsible for Gi/o and β-arrestin signaling, respectively, and targeted those residues to develop biased ligands. For these ligands, we found that bias is conserved at other aminergic GPCRs that retain similar residues at TM5 and EL2. Our approach provides a template for generating arrestin-biased ligands by modifying predicted ligand interactions that block TM5 interactions and promote EL2 interactions. This strategy may facilitate the structure-guided design of arrestin-biased ligands at other GPCRs, including polypharmacological biased ligands.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aripiprazole / chemistry
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cyclic AMP / chemistry
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Discovery
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Mutation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Serine / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • beta-Arrestin 1 / chemistry*


  • ARRB1 protein, human
  • Indoles
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • beta-Arrestin 1
  • Serine
  • Aripiprazole
  • Cyclic AMP

Associated data

  • PubChem-Substance/348353604
  • PubChem-Substance/348353607
  • PubChem-Substance/348353608
  • PubChem-Substance/348353609
  • PubChem-Substance/348353610
  • PubChem-Substance/348353611
  • PubChem-Substance/348353612
  • PubChem-Substance/348353613
  • PubChem-Substance/348353614
  • PubChem-Substance/348353605
  • PubChem-Substance/348353606