Small molecules targeting heterotrimeric G proteins

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16 Citations (Scopus)


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest family of cell surface receptors regulating many human and animal physiological functions. Their implication in human pathophysiology is obvious with almost 30–40% medical drugs commercialized today directly targeting GPCRs as molecular entities. However, upon ligand binding GPCRs signal inside the cell through many key signaling, adaptor and regulatory proteins, including various classes of heterotrimeric G proteins. Therefore, G proteins are considered interesting targets for the development of pharmacological tools that are able to modulate their interaction with the receptors, as well as their activation/deactivation processes. In this review, old attempts and recent advances in the development of small molecules that directly target G proteins will be described with an emphasis on their utilization as pharmacological tools to dissect the mechanisms of activation of GPCR-G protein complexes. These molecules constitute a further asset for research in the “hot” areas of GPCR biology, areas such as multiple G protein coupling/signaling, GPCR-G protein preassembly, and GPCR functional selectivity or bias. Moreover, this review gives a particular focus on studies in vitro and in vivo supporting the potential applications of such small molecules in various GPCR/G protein-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - May 5 2018


  • Drug
  • G protein
  • GPCR
  • Pharmacology
  • Signaling
  • Small molecule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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