G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are important drug targets and are involved in virtually every biological process. However, there are still more than 140 orphan GPCRs, and deciphering their function remains a priority for fundamental and clinical research. Research on orphan GPCRs has concentrated mainly on the identification of their natural ligands, whereas recent data suggest additional ligand-independent functions for these receptors. This emerging concept is connected with the observation that orphan GPCRs can heterodimerize with GPCRs that have identified ligands, and by so doing regulate the function of the latter. Pairing orphan GPCRs with their potential heterodimerization partners will have a major impact on our understanding of the extraordinary diversity offered by GPCR heterodimerization and, in addition, will constitute a novel strategy to elucidate the function of orphan receptors that needs to be added to the repertoire of 'deorphanization' strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology