Receptor Nomenclature

Before the publication of the draft maps of the human genome, the techniques of molecular biology had already resulted in an explosion in the number of putative receptor families and subtypes within these as well as classes or receptors known as orphan receptors, which were structurally members of receptor classes but for which the endogenous ligandand associated function was unknown. The latter are discussed further below.

Because of the speed with which new receptors were identified and because different laboratories frequently identified the identical receptor almost simultaneously and gave it their own unique name, leading to considerable confusion in the literature, the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) has undertaken the development of a systematic nomenclature system (57). The deliberations of the various committees enlisted to devise a systematic nomenclature are published on a periodic basis in Pharmacological Reviews and in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. Com-pendiums are also published at regular intervals in The Sigma-RBI Handbook (5) and the annual Trends in Pharmacological Sciences Receptor Nomenclature Supplement. Various Internet websites and a palm-based PDA database (58) are also valuable sources for keeping abreast of new developments in receptor identification and classification.

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