Chemogenetics comprises a recently developed research approach aimed at describing the ways by which engineered biological macromolecules (e.g., hybrid nucleic acids, kinases, enzymes, and receptors) selectively interact with previously unrecognized chemical actuators (e.g., inert and extrinsic drug-like small molecules). Among the various chemogenetic tools recently described, the technology known as DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) has recently emerged as a powerful and widely adopted tool to dissect the contribution of discrete G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling pathways in molecularly defined cells to neural function and behavior in preclinical models. In addition to its capacity as a research tool, however, DREADD technology also holds significant promise as a therapeutic platform which may be used to develop innovative clinical therapeutics, such as neuromodulation applications based on remote manipulation of cell type-specific GPCR activity. This chapter will present a brief background relating to the development of DREADD and its history, followed by highlights from recent neuroscience-relevant applications of the technology. Finally, the chapter concludes with an outlook on the potential future of DREADD technology as a clinical tool for treating brain diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroscience in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic to Clinical: Third Edition
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783030888329
ISBN (Print)9783030888312
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • AAV
  • AgRP
  • CAV2
  • CNO
  • CNS
  • Chemogenetics
  • Designer receptors
  • Drug discovery
  • FDG
  • G-protein signaling
  • GIRK
  • GPCR
  • Gi
  • Go
  • Gs
  • HM3Dq
  • HM4Di
  • HSV
  • KORD
  • Kappa opioid receptor
  • MRI
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Nonhuman primate
  • PET
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • RM3Ds
  • Salvinorin-B
  • Synthetic biology
  • Transgenic animals
  • Viral targeting


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