Antibodies to probe endogenous G protein-coupled receptor heteromer expression, regulation and function

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11 Scopus citations


Over the last decade an increasing number of studies have focused on the ability of G protein-coupled receptors to form heteromers and explored how receptor heteromerization modulates the binding, signaling and trafficking properties of individual receptors. Most of these studies were carried out in heterologous cells expressing epitope tagged receptors. Very little information is available about the in vivo physiological role of G protein-coupled receptor heteromers due to a lack of tools to detect their presence in endogenous tissue. Recent advances such as the generation of mouse models expressing fluorescently labeled receptors, of TAT based peptides that can disrupt a given heteromer pair, or of heteromer-selective antibodies that recognize the heteromer in endogenous tissue have begun to elucidate the physiological and pathological roles of receptor heteromers. In this review we have focused on heteromer-selective antibodies and describe how a subtractive immunization strategy can be successfully used to generate antibodies that selectively recognize a desired heteromer pair. We also describe the uses of these antibodies to detect the presence of heteromers, to study their properties in endogenous tissues, and to monitor changes in heteromer levels under pathological conditions. Together, these findings suggest that G protein-coupled receptor heteromers represent unique targets for the development of drugs with reduced side-effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number268
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - 2014


  • Angiotensin
  • Cannabinoid
  • Dimerization
  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • Heteromerization
  • Opioid


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