The website http://www.GuideToPharmacology.org is an online database of key pharmacological targets. The listings of 363 GPCRs, 91 transmitter-gated channels, 122 ion channels and 48 nuclear receptors were seeded from, and published online simultaneously, with the November 2011 edition of the Guide to Receptors and Channels (Alexander et al., 2011). The website, jointly funded initially by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS; http://www.bps.ac.uk) and the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (http://www.iuphar.org), provides a readily searchable alternative to the paper-based version of the Guide to Receptors and Channels. Furthermore, the dovetailing with the IUPHAR database (http://www.iuphar-db.org, Sharman et al., 2011) provides a significant extension to the available resources. Thus, the primary aim of the Guide to Receptors and Channels is to provide a simple overview of pharmacological targets, where families are grouped together for ready comparison of individual members, as much as possible on a single page. The focus is deliberately on human proteins, identifying selective agents that allow definition of each pharmacological family and individual targets. A key feature is to pick out those agents that are available commercially or by donation, in order that, for example, a researcher new to the area of endothelin receptors can rapidly select compounds that permit characterization of individual subtypes, or equally important on occasion, to exclude the involvement of endothelin receptors altogether from an observed tissue response.
The IUPHAR database, on the other hand, provides a much greater level of detail. For example, individual records include multiple synonyms by which the target is known, together with links to multiple online databases listing structural information on human and non-human species, principally rat and mouse. Additionally, the IUPHAR database contains extended pharmacological information, where available, listing multiple ligands with additional information on assay conditions.
The backing of these two organizations ensures that the content is the authoritative voice on nomenclature and pharmacology. In addition, the involvement of the BPS and IUPHAR means that the information is available online without restriction, so that colleagues across the globe can have access to the most up-to-date information on these key pharmacological targets.