GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 are three orphan receptors that belong to the Class A family of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These GPCRs share over 60% of sequence similarity among them. Because of their close phylogenetic relationship, GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 share a high percentage of homology with other lipid receptors such as the lysophospholipid and the cannabinoid receptors. On the basis of sequence similarities at key structural motifs, these orphan receptors have been related to the cannabinoid family. However, further experimental data are required to confirm this association. GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 are predominantly expressed in mammalian brain. Their high constitutive activation of adenylyl cyclase triggers increases in cAMP levels similar in amplitude to fully activated GPCRs. This feature defines their physiological role under certain pathological conditions. In this review, we aim to summarize the knowledge attained so far on the understanding of these receptors. Expression patterns, pharmacology, physiopathological relevance, and molecules targeting GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 will be analyzed herein. Interestingly, certain cannabinoid ligands have been reported to modulate these orphan receptors. The current debate about sphingolipids as putative endogenous ligands will also be addressed. A special focus will be on their potential role in the brain, particularly under neurological conditions such as Parkinson or Alzheimer’s disease. Reported physiological roles outside the central nervous system will also be covered. This critical overview may contribute to a further comprehension of the physiopathological role of these orphan GPCRs, hopefully attracting more research towards a future therapeutic exploitation of these promising targets.
GPR12; GPR3; GPR6; Orphan receptors; cannabinoids; neurodegenerative diseases
- PMID: 29390908
- DOI: 10.1080/03602532.2018.1428616