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Program Snapshot

Exercise is good for you, but it is not understood what molecular changes are induced by physical activity or how they improve the function of different tissues and organs in the body. The NIH Common Fund’s Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans program aims to extensively catalogue the biological molecules affected by physical activity in people, identify some of the key molecules that underlie the systemic effects of physical activity, and characterize the function of these key molecules. This molecular map will help us understand how physical activity translates into better health.

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Working Together to Map Molecular Changes from Physical Activity

Although researchers have demonstrated that physical activity contributes to improved health outcomes (e.g., improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, insulin sensitivity, bone and muscle strength, and mood), studies tend to focus on a single signaling pathway, tissue, or organ system. Recognizing that a coordinated effort to uncover all of the molecular changes that occur in response to movement could transform clinical medicine’s use of physical activity as a treatment and preventive strategy, the NIH convened a meeting in October 2014, to explore ways in which the NIH might catalyze such research. The 2014 workshop, responses received via a Request for Information, and other discussions with the research community (including the NIH Council of Councils) informed the development of this program. Read the summary of the 2014 workshop in Cell Metabolism.

The Structural Biology program has transitioned from Common Fund support. Common Fund programs are strategic investments that aim to achieve a set of high impact goals within a 5-10 year timeframe. At the conclusion of each program, deliverables transition to other sources of support or use within the scientific community.

The Structural Biology program was supported by the Common Fund FY2004 through FY2013. Efforts in the area of structural biology will continue via various other means of funding outside of the Common Fund.








G Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) structures solved to date through the Joint Center for Integral Membrane Protein Technologies-Complexes (JCIMPT-Complexes)


Click on the protein structure images to learn more!

In 2007, Common Fund support of pioneering methods in membrane protein production resulted in the determination of the structure of the β2 Adrenergic receptor. Since then, these methods and others have rapidly accelerated GPCR membrane protein structure determination, as shown above.

Why care about GPCRs?

S1P1 ReceptorImmune system, multiple sclerosisA2a AdenosineCardiovascular, respiratory, Parkinson's diseaseCXCR4 Chemokine recptorImmune system, HIV, cancerKappa opiodand Nociceptin FQ recptorsPain, mood, drig abuseD3 Dopamine recptorBrain signaling, schizophreniaH1 Histamine recptorImmune system allergies, inflamationAdrenergic recptorCardiovascular, asthma

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