Visualization of Opioid Receptor Heteromers
This work focuses on the synthesis and pharmacology of ligands which target opioid receptors. Opioid receptors belong to the seven-transmembrane G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily of membrane receptors. Classical pharmacological theory suggests that receptor agonists bind to a single receptor and initiate a signaling cascade dependent upon activation of a single receptor unit to produce effects. Increasing evidence over the past decade has called the single receptor signaling unit into question as an overly simplistic representation of the actions of ligands-GPCR signaling. GPCR heteromers are now suggested as primary targets for various ligands originally thought to target only single receptors. This theory is better suited to provide realistic explanations for complex problems which have been difficult to explain by classical pharmacological theory. GPCR heteromers, though accepted in the field as a standard signaling unit, are still gaining acceptance in the general scientific community. To better present their work on opioid receptor heteromers, and facilitate consumption and recognition of the concepts involved in GPCR heteromeric array based signaling, these researchers require molecularly accurate representations of the systems involved. They utilize the MSI facilities and resources to produce accurate renderings of opioid receptor heteromers, the small molecules they design and synthesize that target them, and the signaling cascades which result from heteromer activation. These accurate images of the receptor heteromer system will provide elegant visual aids which will assist persons less familiar with the concepts involved in rapidly assimilating the complex knowledge base they present.