Allosteric Modulation of Class A GPCRs: Targets, Agents, and Emerging Concepts

J Med Chem. 2019 Jan 10;62(1):88-127. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00875. Epub 2018 Aug 28.


G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been tractable drug targets for decades with over one-third of currently marketed drugs targeting GPCRs. Of these, the class A GPCR superfamily is highly represented, and continued drug discovery for this family of receptors may provide novel therapeutics for a vast range of diseases. GPCR allosteric modulation is an innovative targeting approach that broadens the available small molecule toolbox and is proving to be a viable drug discovery strategy, as evidenced by recent FDA approvals and clinical trials. Numerous class A GPCR allosteric modulators have been discovered recently, and emerging trends such as the availability of GPCR crystal structures, diverse functional assays, and structure-based computational approaches are improving optimization and development. This Perspective provides an update on allosterically targeted class A GPCRs and their disease indications and the medicinal chemistry approaches toward novel allosteric modulators and highlights emerging trends and opportunities in the field.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Allosteric Site
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Ligands
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled