While regulation of receptor function is known to occur at many levels (e.g. transcriptional, post-translational), it is generally perceived that a tissue either expresses or does not express a particular receptor in all-or- none fashion. Many pathological (e.g. tissue injury) and physiological (e.g. angiogenesis) processes have, however, been shown to be associated with the transcriptional induction of specific receptors. Induced receptors are not confined to any particular class, but range from G protein-coupled receptors to receptor tyrosine kinases. The potential implications of de novo receptor expression are profound with respect to potential novel therapeutic targets in specific disease states. Further, this observation may explain unexpected side-effects in the pharmacotherapy of existing disease states. In this article Lucy Donaldson, Michael Hanley and Amparo Villablanca discuss circumstances under which de novo receptor induction has been described, potential mechanisms of induction and the implications for pharmacology.
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