University of Cambridge > > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Roles of receptor activity modifying proteins (RAMPs) in receptor biology, physiology and disease

Roles of receptor activity modifying proteins (RAMPs) in receptor biology, physiology and disease

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The way that cells communicate with each other is central to function at the level of cell, tissue and organism. G-protein coupled receptors are responsible for much of the perception of signals by cells, and the majority of current drugs act on receptors. Receptors were originally thought to function in a simple way, switching on intracellular processes when ligands bound to their extracellular domain. More recently it has been shown that receptors possess “ligand-dependent functional selectivity” – a way for different ligands to bind and cause multiple different intracellular events, depending on the structure and binding site of the ligand. Our research into so-called receptor activity modifying proteins or RAM Ps has shown that these small molecules have the ability to associate with a receptor to alter the ability of a single ligand to induce intracellular changes when binding to the same receptor – a novel innate functional selectivity controlled by the cell. This is reflected in the way that RAM Ps affect a wide range of physiological processes, such as regulation of blood pressure, lactation, placentation and bone mass/architecture. Finally RAM Ps have important roles in signalling in cancer, and antibodies to specific RAM Ps have profound inhibitory effects on tumour development. RAM Ps specifically and receptor accessory proteins more generally may therefore become significant drug targets in the future.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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