Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA; Newborn Brain Research Institute, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA; Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
The family of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) consists of 33 members in humans. Although the majority are orphan receptors with unknown functions, many reports have demonstrated critical functions for some members of this family in organogenesis, neurodevelopment, myelination, angiogenesis, and cancer progression. Importantly, mutations in several aGPCRs have been linked to human diseases. The crystal structure of a shared protein domain, the GPCR Autoproteolysis INducing (GAIN) domain, has enabled the discovery of a common signaling mechanism - a tethered agonist - for this class of receptors. A series of recent reports has shed new light on their biological functions and disease relevance. This review focuses on these recent advances in our understanding of aGPCR biology in the nervous system and the untapped potential of aGPCRs as novel therapeutic targets for neurological disease.