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AlphaFold2 versus experimental structures: evaluation on G protein-coupled receptors

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

August 2022


"As important drug targets, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) play pivotal roles in a wide range of physiological processes. Extensive efforts of structural biology have been made on the study of GPCRs. However, a large portion of GPCR structures remain unsolved due to structural instability. Recently, AlphaFold2 has been developed to predict structure models of many functionally important proteins including all members of the GPCR family. Herein we evaluated the accuracy of GPCR structure models predicted by AlphaFold2. We revealed that AlphaFold2 could capture the overall backbone features of the receptors. However, the predicted models and experimental structures were different in many aspects including the assembly of the extracellular and transmembrane domains, the shape of the ligand-binding pockets, and the conformation of the transducer-binding interfaces. These differences impeded the use of predicted structure models in the functional study and structure-based drug design of GPCRs, which required reliable high-resolution structural information."



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