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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

GPCR oligomers in pharmacology and signaling

Javier González-Maeso

Author Affiliations

Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Friedman Brain Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA

Molecular Brain 2011, 4:20  doi:10.1186/1756-6606-4-20

Published: 27 May 2011

Abstract

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent one of the largest families of cell surface receptors, and are the target of more than half of the current therapeutic drugs on the market. When activated by an agonist, the GPCR undergoes conformational changes that facilitate its interaction with heterotrimeric G proteins, which then relay signals to downstream intracellular effectors. Although GPCRs were thought to function as monomers, many studies support the hypothesis that G protein coupling involves the formation of GPCR homo- and/or hetero-complexes. These complex systems have been suggested to exhibit specific signaling cascades, pharmacological, internalization, and recycling properties. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the structure, function and dynamics of GPCR complexes, as well as the findings obtained in animal models.