Many small-molecule agonists also display allosteric properties. Such ago-allosteric modulators act as co-agonists, providing additive efficacy--instead of partial antagonism--and they can affect--and often improve--the potency of the endogenous agonist. Surprisingly, the apparent binding sites of several ordinary allosteric enhancers and ago-allosteric modulators seem to overlap with those of the endogenous agonists. Different molecular scenarios are proposed to explain this discrepancy from classical allosteric models. In one scenario, the ago-allosteric modulator can interchange between different binding modes. In another, dimeric, receptor scenario, the endogenous agonist binds to one protomer while the ago-allosteric modulator binds to the other, 'allosteric' protomer. It is suggested that testing for ago-allosteric properties should be an integral part of the agonist drug discovery process because a compound that acts with--rather than against--the endogenous agonist could be an optimal agonist drug.
Tips - Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 2007, Vol 28, Issue 8, p. 366-73