Adhesion G Protein-Coupled Receptors as Drug Targets for Neurological Diseases

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2019 Apr;40(4):278-293. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 Mar 11.


The family of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) consists of 33 members in humans. Although the majority are orphan receptors with unknown functions, many reports have demonstrated critical functions for some members of this family in organogenesis, neurodevelopment, myelination, angiogenesis, and cancer progression. Importantly, mutations in several aGPCRs have been linked to human diseases. The crystal structure of a shared protein domain, the GPCR Autoproteolysis INducing (GAIN) domain, has enabled the discovery of a common signaling mechanism - a tethered agonist - for this class of receptors. A series of recent reports has shed new light on their biological functions and disease relevance. This review focuses on these recent advances in our understanding of aGPCR biology in the nervous system and the untapped potential of aGPCRs as novel therapeutic targets for neurological disease.

Keywords: GAIN domain; GPCR Autoproteolysis INducing domain; adhesion G protein-coupled receptors; neurodevelopment; neurological disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Development / methods
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled