Table of Contents
Advances in Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 143023, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/143023
Review Article

GPCRs: Lipid-Dependent Membrane Receptors That Act as Drug Targets

CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500 007, India

Received 20 July 2014; Accepted 6 September 2014; Published 2 October 2014

Academic Editor: Luis Loura

Copyright © 2014 Amitabha Chattopadhyay. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of molecules involved in signal transduction across cell membranes and represent major targets in the development of novel drug candidates in all clinical areas. Although there have been some recent leads, structural information on GPCRs is relatively rare due to the difficulty associated with crystallization. A specific reason for this is the intrinsic flexibility displayed by GPCRs, which is necessary for their functional diversity. Since GPCRs are integral membrane proteins, interaction of membrane lipids with them constitutes an important area of research in GPCR biology. In particular, membrane cholesterol has been reported to have a modulatory role in the function of a number of GPCRs. The role of membrane cholesterol in GPCR function is discussed with specific example of the receptor. Recent results show that GPCRs are characterized with structural motifs that preferentially associate with cholesterol. An emerging and important concept is oligomerization of GPCRs and its role in GPCR function and signaling. The role of membrane cholesterol in GPCR oligomerization is highlighted. Future research in GPCR biology would offer novel insight in basic biology and provide new avenues for drug discovery.