Research on the adenosine receptors has been supported by the continuous discovery of new chemical probes characterized by more and more affinity and selectivity for the single adenosine receptor subtypes (A1
adenosine receptors). Furthermore, the development of new techniques for the detection of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) requires new specific probes. In fact, if in the past radioligands were the most important GPCR probes for detection, compound screening and diagnostic purposes, nowadays, increasing importance is given to fluorescent and covalent ligands. In fact, advances in techniques such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescent polarization, as well as new applications in flow cytometry and different fluorescence-based microscopic techniques, are at the origin of the extensive research of new fluorescent ligands for these receptors. The resurgence of covalent ligands is due in part to a change in the common thinking in the medicinal chemistry community that a covalent drug is necessarily more toxic than a reversible one, and in part to the useful application of covalent ligands in GPCR structural biology. In this review, an updated collection of available chemical probes targeting adenosine receptors is reported.
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