The two -state model of receptor activation: The agonist and the efficacy

Tracy Lynn Blevins, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The Two State model describes how drugs activate receptors by inducing or supporting a conformational change in the receptor from “off” to “on”. The beta 2 adrenergic receptor system is the model system which was used to formalize the concept of two states, and the mechanism of hormone agonist stimulation of this receptor is similar to ligand activation of other seven transmembrane receptors. Hormone binding to beta 2 adrenergic receptors stimulates the intracellular production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is mediated through the stimulatory guanyl nucleotide binding protein (Gs) interacting with the membrane bound enzyme adenylylcyclase (AC). The effects of cAMP include protein phosphorylation, metabolic regulation and transcriptional regulation. The beta 2 adrenergic receptor system is the most well known of its family of G protein coupled receptors. Ligands have been scrutinized extensively in search of more effective therapeutic agents at this receptor as well as for insight into the biochemical mechanism of receptor activation. Hormone binding to receptor is thought to induce a conformational change in the receptor that increases its affinity for inactive Gs, catalyzes the release of GDP and subsequent binding of GTP and activation of Gs. However, some beta 2 ligands are more efficient at this transformation than others, and the underlying mechanism for this drug specificity is not fully understood. The central problem in pharmacology is the characterization of drugs in their effect on physiological systems, and consequently, the search for a rational scale of drug effectiveness has been the effort of many investigators, which continues to the present time as models are proposed, tested and modified. The major results of this thesis show that for many [special characters omitted]-adrenergic ligands, the Two State model is quite adequate to explain their activity, but dobutamine (+/−3,4-dihydroxy-N-[3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methylpropyl]-[special characters omitted]-phenethylamine) fails to conform to the predictions of the Two State model. It is a weak partial agonist, but it forms a large amount of high affinity complexes, and these complexes are formed at low concentrations much better than at higher concentrations. Finally, dobutamine causes the beta 2 adrenergic receptor to form high affinity complexes at a much faster rate than can be accounted for by its low efficiency activating AC. Because the Two State model fails to predict the activity of dobutamine in three different ways, it has been disproven in its strictest form.

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Recommended Citation

Blevins, Tracy Lynn, "The two -state model of receptor activation: The agonist and the efficacy" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9951893.