Nomenclature guidelines

NC-IUPHAR (the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification) issues guidelines for the nomenclature and classification of (human) biological targets, including the targets of current and future prescription medicines. NC-IUPHAR also works to facilitate the interface between the discovery of new sequences from the Human Genome Project and the designation of the derived entities as functional biological targets and potential drug targets.

NC-IUPHAR has established close links with the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), which attributes human gene names; the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), to standardise correct use of drug names; and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) to collaborate on receptor-related enzyme nomenclature.

NC-IUPHAR publishes official nomenclature reports, reviews and other articles on various topics [list of publications] and maintains an online database (IUPHAR-DB, now available through the Guide to PHARMACOLOGY: giving peer-reviewed pharmacological, chemical, genetic, functional and anatomical information on pharmacologically-important receptors, ion channels, enzymes, transporters and other proteins encoded by the human, rat and mouse genomes.

A letter of guidance to journal editors can be downloaded here: IUPHARlettertoeditors.pdf

The following are links to relevant NC-IUPHAR pages and publications describing receptor nomenclature.

G Protein-Coupled Receptors

IUPHAR GPCR nomenclature available from the GPCR list.

Voltage-gated Ion Channels

IUPHAR VGIC nomenclature available from the VGIC list.

Click here to access articles in the IUPHAR VGIC compendium.

Ligand-gated Ion Channels

The nomenclature of ligand-gated ion channels and their subunits has recently been re-examined by NC-IUPHAR. Their revised recommendations for nomenclature are summarised here.

IUPHAR LGIC nomenclature published in

  • Collingridge GL, Olsen RW, Peters J, Spedding M. (2009)
    A nomenclature for ligand-gated ion channels. Neuropharmacology. 56 (1): 2-5 [Full Text]

Nuclear Hormone Receptors

IUPHAR NHR nomenclature published in

  • Germain P, Staels B, Dacquet C, Spedding M, Laudet V. (2006)
    Overview of Nomenclature of Nuclear Receptors. Pharmacol Rev. 58 (4): 685-704 [PDF][Full Text]

Click here to access articles in the IUPHAR NHR compendium.

Guidelines for nomenclature of new receptor subtypes

  • Vanhoutte PM, Humphrey, PPA, Spedding, M. (1996)
    International Union of Pharmacology. XI. Recommendations for nomenclature of new receptor subtypes. Pharmacol Rev. 48 (1): 1-2 [PDF]

Recommendations on terms and symbols in quantitative pharmacology

  • Neubig RR, Spedding M, Kenakin T, Christopoulos A. (2003)
    International Union of Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification. XXXVIII. Update on terms and symbols in quantitative pharmacology. Pharmacol Rev. 55 (4): 597-606 [PDF][Full Text]

Further information and advice concerning the nomenclature of existing and newly discovered receptors and ion channels may be obtained by emailing us.