Crystal Structure of the Human Cannabinoid Receptor CB2.

Journal: Cell

Published: 2018-12-21

DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.12.011

Affiliations: 12

Authors: 24

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Research Highlight

Structure of cannabinoid receptor hashed out

© CasarsaGuru/Getty

© CasarsaGuru/Getty

The first high-resolution structure of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) shows how different drug molecules work on different parts of the endocannabinoid pathway.

A ShanghaiTech University–led team determined the crystal structure of CB2 in complex with a molecule designed to block the receptor.

The researchers showed that CB1, a receptor widely distributed in the central nervous system, and CB2, a receptor predominately expressed in the immune system, have distinct interaction sites for antagonistic drugs.

However, the structure of the binding pocket for antagonists of CB2 resembled that of the binding pocket for activating agents of CB1, which helps explain why substances stimulating one receptor can weaken or inhibit the other, and vice versa.

The findings should help scientists better understand the effects of cannabis, the components of which act on CB1 and CB2. The new structure should also enable more rational and selective drug design for desired therapeutic effects.

Supported content

  1. Cell 176, 459–467.e13 (2019). doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.12.011
Institutions Share
ShanghaiTech University, China 0.34
Northeastern University (NEU), United States of America (USA) 0.17
NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), United States of America (USA) 0.17
Scripps Research, United States of America (USA) 0.13
University of Southern California (USC), United States of America (USA) 0.12
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China 0.03
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - State University (MIPT), Russia 0.03
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBCB), SIBS CAS, China 0.02