Proteinase-activated receptors

Scott R. Macfarlane, Michael J. Seatter, Toru Kanke, Gary D. Hunter, Robin Plevin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1094 Citations (Scopus)


Proteinase-activated receptors are a recently described, novel family of seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptors. Rather then being stimulated through ligand receptor occupancy, activation is initiated by cleavage of the N terminus of the receptor by a serine protease resulting in the generation of a new tethered ligand that interacts with the receptor within extracellular loop-2. To date, four proteinase-activated receptors (PARs) have been identified, with distinct N.terminal cleavage sites and tethered ligand pharmacology. In addition to the progress in the generation of PAR-1 antagonists, we describe the role of thrombin in such processes as wound healing and the evidence implicating PAR-1 in vascular disorders and cancer. We also identify advances in the understanding of PAR-1-mediated intracellular signaling and receptor desensitization. The cellular functions, signaling events, and desensitization processes involved in PAR-2 activation are also assessed. However, other major aspects of PAR-2 are highlighted, in particular the ability of several serine protease enzymes, in addition to trypsin, to function as activators of PAR-2. The likely physiological and pathophysiological roles for PAR-2 in skin, intestine, blood vessels, and the peripheral nervous system are considered in the context of PAR-2 activation by multiple serine proteases. The recent discovery of PAR-3 and PAR-4 as additional thrombin-sensitive PARs further highlights the complexity in assessing the effects of thrombin in several different systems, an issue that remains to be fully addressed. These discoveries have also highlighted possible PAR-PAR interactions at both functional and molecular levels. The future identification of other PARs and their modes of activation are an important future direction for this expanding field of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-282
Number of pages38
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001


  • protease-activated receptors
  • mitogen activated protein kinase
  • phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase
  • proteinase activated receptor 1
  • thrombin receptor


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