G-protein Coupled Receptor

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The G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) is a seven transmembrane spanning receptor that interacts with G-protein in the process of cell signalling. It constitutes along with ion-channel-coupled receptors and enzyme-coupled receptors a major class of cell surface-receptor[1].


Over 800 G-protein-coupled receptors have been identified (more than half of them being olfactory receptors) and phylogenetic studies carried out[2]. From these studies the GPCRs can be classified in five main families: 


Along with the seven transmembrane core structure, the G Protein Coupled Receptor often have large receptor domains in the N-terminus on the extracellular side of the plasma membrane. Binding of a signal molecule to this receptor domain (or indeed the extracellular part of the transmembrane domains) cause a conformational change in the transmembrane domain and intracellular C-terminus. This triggers the action of a G-protein which binds guanyl nucleotides. (Berg, J.M., Stryer)


  1. Alberts, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed. Garland Science. 2008
  2. Fredriksson R, Lagerström MC, Lundin LG, Schiöth HB. The G-protein-coupled receptors in the human genome form five main families. Phylogenetic analysis, paralogon groups, and fingerprints.Mol Pharmacol. 2003 Jun;63(6):1256-72.
 Berg, JM, Biochemistry, 6th Edition (2007), W.H. Freeman and Company, New York
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