Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Integration and Spatial Organization of Signaling by G Protein-Coupled Receptor Homo- and Heterodimer
Information flow from a source to a receiver becomes informative when the recipient can process the signal into a meaningful form. Information exchange and interpretation is essential in biology and understanding how cells integrate signals from a variety of information-coding molecules into complex orchestrated responses is a major challenge for modern cell biology. In complex organisms, cell to cell communication occurs mostly through neurotransmitters and hormones, and receptors are responsible for signal recognition at the membrane level and information transduction inside the cell. The G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of membrane receptors, with nearly 800 genes coding for these proteins. The recognition that GPCRs may physically interact with each other has led to the hypothesis that their dimeric state can provide the framework for temporal coincidence in signaling pathways. Furthermore, the formation of GPCRs higher order oligomers provides the structural basis for organizing distinct cell compartments along the plasma membrane where confined increases in second messengers may be perceived and discriminated. Here, we summarize evidence that supports these conjectures, fostering new ideas about the physiological role played by receptor homo- and hetero-oligomerization in cell biology.