G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest and most important family of drug targets today. More than 50% of the drugs currently on the market are based on GPCRs and worldwide annual sales reached $47 billion in 2003. The highly remunerative nature of this family of proteins is derived from their importance in many aspects of human physiology. GPCRs have an extremely broad range of mechanisms by which they transduce information through various signaling pathways within cells, but they are also involved in intercellular mechanisms. The activation of GPCRs occurs first through binding of peptides, neurotransmitters, hormones, odors, ions, light, odorants, pheromones, amino acids, amines, nucleotides, nucleosides, prostaglandins, and other small molecular weight compounds. Subsequent G protein activation via GPCRs plays important roles in many types of human maladies such as cardiovascular, metabolic, neurodegenerative, neurological, and viral diseases, as well as cancers.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.