On the Role of G Protein-Coupled Receptors Oligomerization

On the Role of G Protein-Coupled Receptors Oligomerization

The Open Biology Journal 26 May 2011 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874196701104010047


The existence of a supramolecular organization of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) is now being widely accepted by the scientific community. Indeed, GPCR oligomers may enhance the diversity and performance by which extracellular signals are transferred to the G proteins in the process of receptor transduction, although the mechanism that underlies this phenomenon still remains unsolved. Recently, it has been proposed that a trans-conformational switching model could be the mechanism allowing direct inhibition/activation of receptor activation/inhibition, respectively. Thus, heterotropic receptor-receptor allosteric regulations are behind the GPCR oligomeric function. In this paper we want to revise how GPCR oligomerization impinges on several important receptor functions like biosynthesis, plasma membrane diffusion or velocity, pharmacology and signaling. In particular, the rationale of receptor oligomerization might lie in the need of sensing complex whole cell extracellular signals and translating them into a simple computational model.

Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor, protein-protein interaction, GPCR oligomerization.