Multiplexed profiling of GPCR activities by combining split TEV assays and EXT-based barcoded readouts

Sci Rep. 2018 May 25;8(1):8137. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26401-9.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of cell surface receptors and are implicated in the physiological regulation of many biological processes. The high diversity of GPCRs and their physiological functions make them primary targets for therapeutic drugs. For the generation of novel compounds, however, selectivity towards a given target is a critical issue in drug development as structural similarities between members of GPCR subfamilies exist. Therefore, the activities of multiple GPCRs that are both closely and distantly related to assess compound selectivity need to be tested simultaneously. Here, we present a cell-based multiplexed GPCR activity assay, termed GPCRprofiler, which uses a β-arrestin recruitment strategy and combines split TEV protein-protein interaction and EXT-based barcode technologies. This approach enables simultaneous measurements of receptor activities of multiple GPCR-ligand combinations by applying massively parallelized reporter assays. In proof-of-principle experiments covering 19 different GPCRs, both the specificity of endogenous agonists and the polypharmacological effects of two known antipsychotics on GPCR activities were demonstrated. Technically, normalization of barcode reporters across individual assays allows quantitative pharmacological assays in a parallelized manner. In summary, the GPCRprofiler technique constitutes a flexible and scalable approach, which enables simultaneous profiling of compound actions on multiple receptor activities in living cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled