G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are involved in numerous physiological processes and are the most frequent targets of approved drugs. The explosion in the number of new 3D molecular structures of GPCRs (3D-GPCRome) during the last decade has greatly advanced the mechanistic understanding and drug design opportunities for this protein family. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have become a widely established technique to explore the conformational landscape of proteins at an atomic level. However, the analysis and visualization of MD simulations require efficient storage resources and specialized software. Here we present GPCRmd (http://gpcrmd.org/), an online platform that incorporates web-based visualization capabilities as well as a comprehensive and user-friendly analysis toolbox that allows scientists from different disciplines to visualize, analyse and share GPCR MD data.GPCRmd originates from a community-driven effort to create the first open, interactive, and standardized database of GPCR MD simulations.However, static high-resolution structures provide little information on the intrinsic 71 flexibility of GPCRs, a key aspect to fully understand their function. Important advances 72
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are implicated in nearly every physiological process in the human body and therefore represent an important drug targeting class. Advances in X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have provided multiple static structures of GPCRs in complex with various signaling partners. However, GPCR functionality is largely determined by their flexibility and ability to transition between distinct structural conformations. Due to this dynamic nature, a static snapshot does not fully explain the complexity of GPCR signal transduction. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations offer the opportunity to simulate the structural motions of biological processes at atomic resolution. Thus, this technique can incorporate the missing information on protein flexibility into experimentally solved structures. Here, we review the contribution of MD simulations to complement static structural data and to improve our understanding of GPCR physiology and pharmacology, as well as the challenges that still need to be overcome to reach the full potential of this technique.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are involved in numerous physiological processes and the most frequent targets of approved drugs. The striking explosion in the number of new 3D molecular structures of GPCRs (3D-GPCRome) during the last decade has greatly advanced the mechanistic understanding and drug design opportunities for this protein family. While experimentally-resolved structures undoubtedly provide valuable snapshots of specific GPCR conformational states, they give only limited information on their flexibility and dynamics associated with function.Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have become a widely established technique to explore the conformational landscape of proteins at an atomic level. However, the analysis and visualization of MD simulations requires efficient storage resources and specialized software, hence limiting the dissemination of these data to specialists in the field. Here we present the GPCRmd, an online platform with web-based visualization capabilities and a comprehensive analysis toolbox that allows scientists from any discipline to visualize, share, and analyse GPCR MD data. We describe the GPCRmd in the context of a community-driven effort to create the first open, interactive, and standardized database of GPCR MD simulations. We demonstrate the power of this resource by performing comparative analyses of multiple GPCR simulations on two mechanisms critical to receptor function: internal water networks and sodium ion interaction.
Signaling bias is a promising characteristic of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as it provides the opportunity to develop more efficacious and safer drugs. This is because biased ligands can avoid the activation of pathways linked to side effects whilst still producing the desired therapeutic effect. In this respect, a deeper understanding of receptor dynamics and implicated allosteric communication networks in signaling bias can accelerate the research on novel biased drug candidates. In this review, we aim to provide an overview of computational methods and techniques for studying allosteric communication and signaling bias in GPCRs. This includes (i) the detection of allosteric communication networks and (ii) the application of network theory for extracting relevant information pipelines and highly communicated sites in GPCRs. We focus on the most recent research and highlight structural insights obtained based on the framework of allosteric communication networks and network theory for GPCR signaling bias.
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