The superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) consists of biological microprocessors that can activate multiple signaling pathways. Most GPCRs have an orthosteric pocket where the endogenous ligand(s) typically binds. Conversely, allosteric ligands bind to GPCRs at sites that are distinct from the orthosteric binding region and they modulate the response elicited by the endogenous ligand. Allosteric ligands can also switch the response of a GPCR after ligand binding to a unique signaling pathway, these ligands are termed biased allosteric modulators. Thus, the development of allosteric ligands opens new and multiple ways in which the signaling pathways of GPCRs can be manipulated for potential therapeutic benefit. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which allosteric ligands modulate the effects of endogenous ligands have provided new insights into the interactions between allosteric ligands and GPCRs. These new findings have a high potential to improve drug discovery and development and, therefore, creating the need for better screening methods for allosteric drugs to increase the chances of success in the development of allosteric modulators as lead clinical compounds.
Part of the book: Molecular Pharmacology