Expression and purification of recombinant G protein-coupled receptors: A review

Protein Expr Purif. 2020 Mar;167:105524. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2019.105524. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Given their extensive role in cell signalling, GPCRs are significant drug targets; despite this, many of these receptors have limited or no available prophylaxis. Novel drug design and discovery significantly rely on structure determination, of which GPCRs are typically elusive. Progress has been made thus far to produce sufficient quantity and quality of protein for downstream analysis. As such, this review highlights the systems available for recombinant GPCR expression, with consideration of their advantages and disadvantages, as well as examples of receptors successfully expressed in these systems. Additionally, an overview is given on the use of detergents and the styrene maleic acid (SMA) co-polymer for membrane solubilisation, as well as purification techniques.

Keywords: Expression; GPCR; Purification; Review; SMALP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Gene Expression
  • Maleates / chemistry
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Solubility


  • Maleates
  • Polystyrenes
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • styrene-maleic acid polymer