G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), also known as seven-transmembrane domain receptors, 7TM receptors, heptahelical receptors, serpentine receptor, and G protein-linked receptors (GPLR), comprise a large protein family of transmembrane receptors that sense molecules outside the cell and activate inside signal transduction pathways and, ultimately, cellular responses. G protein-coupled receptors are found only in eukaryotes, including yeast, choanoflagellates, and animals. The ligands that bind and activate these receptors include light-sensitive compounds, odors, pheromones, hormones
, and neurotransmitters
, and vary in size from small molecules to peptides to large proteins
. G protein-coupled receptors are involved in many diseases, and are also the target of approximately 40% of all modern medicinal drugs. There are two principal signal transduction pathways
involving the G protein-coupled receptors: the cAMP signal pathway and the Phosphatidylinositol signal pathway.