Designer Drugs for Designer Receptors: Unlocking the Translational Potential of Chemogenetics

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2019 Jun;40(6):362-364. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 May 6.


Chemogenetic techniques allow selective manipulation of neurons by activating engineered actuator proteins with otherwise inert effector molecules. A recent study (Magnus et al. Science 2019;364:eaav5282) describes the coevolution of highly potent actuator-effector pairs based on a clinically approved antismoking drug. These tools allow selective excitation or inhibition of neurons in the living brain with high specificity and no detectable side-effects.

Keywords: chemogenetics; drug design; gene therapy; neuromodulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Designer Drugs*
  • Neurons


  • Designer Drugs