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Keywords:

  • GPCRs;
  • dimers;
  • allosterism;
  • signalling;
  • drug discovery

Dimers of GPCRs have held the imagination of researchers for almost 20 years. However, only recently has their value as potentially novel drug targets been increased significantly, and primarily, in the context of GPCR heterodimers. The view of receptor heterodimers as allosteric machines has transformed the way we understand structural and functional asymmetries inherent in their organization. These asymmetries alter both signalling output and how they might be targeted pharmacologically. The paper in this issue of BJP by Siddiquee and colleagues (2013) highlights our growing understanding of such asymmetries and their implications. They show that heterodimers of the angiotensin II AT1 receptor and the apelin receptor recognize and respond to their respective ligands in distinct ways from the parent receptors expressed alone. Further, they demonstrate asymmetric allosteric effects in the context of the heterodimer that may have significant implications for our understanding of such receptor complexes.

Linked Article

This article is a commentary on the research paper by Siddiquee et al., pp. 1104–1117 of this issue. To view this paper visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02192.x