GPCRs fold 7 times in the membrane. They are in charge of detecting information from the outside world (smells, tastes, vision, sounds, etc..) and the inside world (respiratory and digestive tracts, most hormones).
Detected information is transmitted to a turnpike molecule (G protein) which signals the enzymatic cascades that need to be activated or inactivated.
One of the oldest scourges of mankind, choléra,
is due to inactivation of intestinal GPCRs by cholera toxin
GPCRs and G proteins, play
a key role in physiology & disease of :
- sense organs
- respiratory tract
- digestive tract
- endocrine systems
GPCRs constitute 40% of pharmacological targets explored today. For research in this field Gilman & Rodbel were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1994