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biased agonism

This term refers to the observation that a given ligand (the biased ligand or biased agonist) may specifically activate only one of several possible downstream signalling pathways after receptor activation (biased signalling). Biased agonism has been observed for many G-protein-coupled receptors but also other types of receptors.

A ligand can function as an agonist for one specific pathway and function as a neutral antagonist that blocks the activity of the agonist without otherwise having an activity of its own. The ligand can function also as an inverse agonist that induces a response opposite to that elicited by the agonist, and its activity can be blocked by the neutral agonist (for overview see: Shukla et al, 2014; Xiao and Sun, 2018).

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