Structural models of class A G protein-coupled receptors as a tool for drug design: Insights on transmembrane bundle plasticity

Xavier Deupi, Nicole Dölker, María Luz López-Rodríguez, Mercedes Campillo, Juan A. Ballesteros, Leonardo Pardo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) interact with an extraordinary diversity of ligands by means of their extracellular domains and/or the extracellular part of the transmembrane (TM) segments. Each receptor subfamily has developed specific sequence motifs to adjust the structural characteristics of its cognate ligands to a common set of conformational rearrangements of the TM segments near the G protein binding domains during the activation process. Thus, GPCRs have fulfilled this adaptation during their evolution by customizing a preserved 7TM scaffold through conformational plasticity. We use this term to describe the structural differences near the binding site crevices among different receptor subfamilies, responsible for the selective recognition of diverse ligands among different receptor subfamilies. By comparing the sequence of rhodopsin at specific key regions of the TM bundle with the sequences of other GPCRs we have found that the extracellular region of TMs 2 and 3 provides a remarkable example of conformational plasticity within Class A GPCRs. Thus, rhodopsin-based molecular models need to include the plasticity of the binding sites among GPCR families, since the "quality" of these homology models is intimately linked with the success in the processes of rational drug-design or virtual screening of chemical databases. © 2007 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-998
JournalCurrent Topics in Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • Conformational plasticity
  • Helix-helix interaction
  • Hydrogen bond network
  • Rhodopsin
  • Transmembrane helices


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural models of class A G protein-coupled receptors as a tool for drug design: Insights on transmembrane bundle plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this