Whereas “GPCR ligands and action mechanisms” are the primary focus of a limited number of academic groups in France, the majority of groups are interested in a specific physiological function involving one or several GPCRs. Although a regular exchange between these three fields appears mandatory this does not necessarily happen due to the large spectrum of different physiological processes and diseases involving GPCRs. Indeed GPCR researchers work in fields ranging from chemistry, to cell biology, physiology, immunology, infectious diseases, structural biology, molecular modeling, systems biology and pharmacology, illustrating the large diversity of teams interested in GPCRs.
The added value of the exchange between GPCR researchers in the GDR3545 is based on the assumption that all GPCRs share a similar topology and “work” in a similar manner despite the huge diversity of ligands and physiological processes involved. Researchers interested in GPCR pharmacology and action mechanisms will thus be sensitized to the importance of specific physiological processes and disease models. Researchers interested in a particular disease or physiological process will learn more about the current conceptual advances and general action mechanisms in the GPCR field and will have the opportunity to exchange with researchers working on completely different disease models that may however have a similar functional or molecular origin or defect.
The following 4 scientific themes have been identified:
Current representatives are mentioned in brackets.
The impact of industry is also important in order to increase the communication between the three fields. Industry is traditionally interested in the identification and synthesis of natural and synthetic ligands, in defining the pharmacological properties and in performing ligand screening. However, the slowing down of the drug discovery process and the rate of GPCR deorphanization indicate the need for new ideas and concepts to accelerate the drug development process. The input of academic research may be crucial in this respect.