Profiling of orthosteric and allosteric group-III metabotropic glutamate receptor ligands on various G protein-coupled receptors with Tag-lite® assays

Neuropharmacology. 2018 Sep 15:140:233-245. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.07.032. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


Group-III metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors are important synaptic regulators and are potential druggable targets for Parkinson disease, autism and pain. Potential drugs include orthosteric agonists in the glutamate binding extracellular domain and positive allosteric modulators interacting with seven-pass transmembrane domains. Orthosteric agonists are rarely completely specific for an individual group-III mGlu subtype. Furthermore they often fail to pass the blood-brain barrier and they constitutively activate their target receptor. These properties limit the potential therapeutic use of orthosteric agonists. Allosteric modulators are more specific and maintain the biological activity of the targeted receptor. However, they bind in a hydrophobic pocket and this limits their bio-availability and increases possible off-target action. It is therefore important to characterize the action of potential drug targets with a multifaceted and deeply informative assay. Here we aimed at multifaceted deep profiling of the effect of seven different agonists, and seven positive allosteric modulators on 34 different G protein-coupled receptors by a Tag-lite® assay. Our results did not reveal off-target activity of mGlu orthosteric agonists. However, five allosteric modulators had either positive or negative effects on non-cognate G protein-coupled receptors. In conclusion, we demonstrate the power of the Tag-lite® assay for potential drug ligand profiling on G protein-coupled receptors and its potential to identify positive allosteric compounds.

Keywords: Allosteric modulators; FRET; GPCR; Metabotropic glutamate receptors; Screening technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Ligands*
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / agonists*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate