Elucidation of Adhesion GPCR signaling
FOR 2149 of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Adhesion-type G protein-coupled receptors form a large class of seven-transmembrane spanning (7TM) receptors. 7TM receptors have proven the linchpin for countless physiological functions and a treasure trove for modern pharmaceutical intervention. Adhesion GPCRs appear in stark contrast to the rest of the 7TM receptor superfamily.

Despite their abundance, remarkable size and molecular structure facilitating cell and matrix contacts in a variety of organ systems, Adhesion GPCRs are by far the most poorly understood 7TM receptor class. Neither the general biological and pharmacological properties of Adhesion GPCRs are known, nor have they been utilized yet in biomedicine.

The DFG Research Unit 2149 will revolve around the central point of Adhesion GPCR biology: How do Adhesion GPCRs signal? This quintessential question will be targeted from different angles by a research team of unique composition and with a wide scope of expertise encompassing physiology, biochemistry, structural biology, pharmacol­ogy and nanoscopic imaging techniques. Importantly, the strengths of invertebrate and vertebrate models are used to synergize efforts in linking molecular steps in Adhesion GPCR signaling to physiological processes governed by these unusual receptors.

Specific care is dedicated to interlock the projects not only methodologically, but especially at the conceptual level to facilitate the extraction of general principles of Adhesion GPCR signaling. We aim to understand an entire molecule class with pivotal roles in health and disease, whose molecular logic of signaling is highly sought-after.