A receptor activated solely by a synthetic ligand
(RASSL), permits spatial and temporal control of G protein
signaling in vivo
. The system utilizes G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR
) engineered to respond exclusively to synthetic small molecule ligands
and not to their natural ligand(s).
GPCRs are the target for some of the most widely used pharmaceuticals to treat diseases that involve virtually all tissues of the body. New GPCR signaling systems will provide insights into GPCR-induced physiological responses and will allow for new forms of controlling engineered tissues in vivo.
The concept for RASSLs was first published in 1998 (Coward et al.) and has gradually been gaining momentum. The first international RASSL meeting is scheduled for April 6, 2006.