Drug development targeting GPCRs often utilizes model heterologous cell expression systems, reflecting an implicit assumption that the membrane environment has little functional impact on these receptors or on their responsiveness to drugs. However, much recent data have illustrated that membrane components can have an important functional impact on intrinsic membrane proteins. This review is directed toward gaining a better understanding of the structure of the plasma membrane in health and disease, and how this organelle can influence GPCR structure, function and regulation. It is important to recognize that the membrane provides a potential mode of lateral allosteric regulation of GPCRs and can affect the effectiveness of drugs and their biological responses in various disease states, which can even vary among individuals across the population. The type 1 cholecystokinin receptor is reviewed as an exemplar of a class A GPCR that is affected in this way by changes in the plasma membrane. Linked Articles: This article is part of a themed section on Molecular Pharmacology of GPCRs. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v175.21/issuetoc.
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