Relaxin-3: improved synthesis strategy and demonstration of its high-affinity interaction with the relaxin receptor LGR7 both in vitro and in vivo.
ABSTRACT Relaxin-3 is a member of the human relaxin peptide family, the gene for which, RLN3, is predominantly expressed in the brain. Mapping studies in the rodent indicate a highly developed network of RLN3, RLN1, and relaxin receptor-expressing cells in the brain, suggesting that relaxin peptides have important functional roles in the central nervous system. A regioselective disulfide-bond synthesis protocol was developed and used for the chemical synthesis of human (H3) relaxin-3. The selectively S-protected A and B chains were combined by stepwise formation of each of the three insulin-like disulfides via aeration, thioloysis, and iodolysis. Judicious positioning of the three sets of S-protecting groups was crucial for acquisition of synthetic H3 relaxin in a good overall yield. The activity of the peptide was tested against relaxin family peptide receptors. Although the highest activity was demonstrated on the human relaxin-3 receptor (GPCR135), the peptide also showed high activity on relaxin receptors (LGR7) from various species and variable activity on the INSL3 receptor (LGR8). Recombinant mouse prorelaxin-3 demonstrated similar activity to H3 relaxin, suggesting that the presence of the C peptide did not influence the conformation of the active site. H3 relaxin was also able to activate native LGR7 receptors. It stimulated increased MMP-2 expression in LGR7-expressing rat ventricular fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner and, following infusion into the lateral ventricle of the brain, stimulated water drinking in rats, activating LGR7 receptors located in the subfornical organ. Thus, H3 relaxin is able to interact with the relaxin receptor LGR7 both in vitro and in vivo.
Article: Relaxin signals through a RXFP1-pERK-nNOS-NO-cGMP-dependent pathway to up-regulate matrix metalloproteinases: the additional involvement of iNOS.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The hormone, relaxin, inhibits aberrant myofibroblast differentiation and collagen deposition by disrupting the TGF-β1/Smad2 axis, via its cognate receptor, Relaxin Family Peptide Receptor 1 (RXFP1), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 phosphorylation (pERK) and a neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase (nNOS)-NO-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent pathway. However, the signalling pathways involved in its additional ability to increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression and activity remain unknown. This study investigated the extent to which the NO pathway was involved in human gene-2 (H2) relaxin's ability to positively regulate MMP-1 and its rodent orthologue, MMP-13, MMP-2 and MMP-9 (the main collagen-degrading MMPs) in TGF-β1-stimulated human dermal fibroblasts and primary renal myofibroblasts isolated from injured rats; by gelatin zymography (media) and Western blotting (cell layer). H2 relaxin (10-100 ng/ml) significantly increased MMP-1 (by ~50%), MMP-2 (by ~80%) and MMP-9 (by ~80%) in TGF-β1-stimulated human dermal fibroblasts; and MMP-13 (by ~90%), MMP-2 (by ~130%) and MMP-9 (by ~115%) in rat renal myofibroblasts (all p<0.01 vs untreated cells) over 72 hours. The relaxin-induced up-regulation of these MMPs, however, was significantly blocked by a non-selective NOS inhibitor (L-nitroarginine methyl ester (hydrochloride); L-NAME; 75-100 µM), and specific inhibitors to nNOS (N-propyl-L-arginine; NPLA; 0.2-2 µM), iNOS (1400W; 0.5-1 µM) and guanylyl cyclase (ODQ; 5 µM) (all p<0.05 vs H2 relaxin alone), but not eNOS (L-N-(1-iminoethyl)ornithine dihydrochloride; L-NIO; 0.5-5 µM). However, neither of these inhibitors affected basal MMP expression at the concentrations used. Furthermore, of the NOS isoforms expressed in renal myofibroblasts (nNOS and iNOS), H2 relaxin only stimulated nNOS expression, which in turn, was blocked by the ERK1/2 inhibitor (PD98059; 1 µM). These findings demonstrated that H2 relaxin signals through a RXFP1-pERK-nNOS-NO-cGMP-dependent pathway to mediate its anti-fibrotic actions, and additionally signals through iNOS to up-regulate MMPs; the latter being suppressed by TGF-β1 in myofibroblasts, but released upon H2 relaxin-induced inhibition of the TGF-β1/Smad2 axis.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(8):e42714. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Regulation of receptor signaling by relaxin A chain motifs: derivation of pan-specific and LGR7-specific human relaxin analogs.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Relaxin peptides are important hormones for the regulation of reproductive tissue remodeling and the renal cardiovascular system during pregnancy. Recent studies demonstrated that two of the seven human relaxin family peptides, relaxin H2 (RLN2) and INSL3, signal exclusively through leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptors, LGR7 and LGR8. Although it was well characterized that an RXXXRXXI motif at the RLN2 B chain confers receptor activation activity, it is not clear what roles RLN2 A chain plays in receptor interaction. Analyses of relaxin family genes on syntenic regions of model tetrapods showed that the A chain of RLN2 orthologs exhibited a greater sequence divergence as compared with the receptor-binding domain-containing B chain, foreshadowing a potential role in receptor interactions; hence, defining receptor selectivity in this fast evolving peptide hormone. To test our hypothesis that select residues in the human RLN2 A chain play key roles in receptor interaction, we studied mutant peptides with residue substitution(s) in the A chain. Here, we showed that alanine substitution at the A16 and A17 positions enhances LGR8-activation activity of RLN2, whereas mutation at the A22-23 region (RLN2A22-23) ablates LGR8, but not LGR7, activation activity. In addition, we demonstrated that the functional characteristics of the RLN2A22-23 mutant are mainly attributed to modifications at the PheA23 position. Taken together, our studies indicated that ThrA16, LysA17, and PheA23 constitute part of the receptor-binding interface of human RLN2, and that modification of these residues has led to the generation of novel human RLN2 analogs that would allow selective activation of human LGR7, but not LGR8, in vivo.Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2008; 283(46):32099-109. · 4.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Relaxin-3 is a highly conserved neuropeptide in vertebrate species and binds to the Class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) RXFP3. Relaxin-3 is involved in a wide range of behaviors, including feeding, stress responses, arousal, and cognitive processes and therefore targeting of RXFP3 may be relevant for a range of neurological diseases. Structural knowledge of RXFP3 and its interaction with relaxin-3 would both increase our understanding of ligand recognition in GPCRs that respond to protein ligands and enable acceleration of the design of drug leads. In this study we have used comparative sequence analysis, molecular modeling and receptor mutagenesis to investigate the binding site of the native ligand human relaxin-3 (H3 relaxin) on the human RXFP3 receptor. Previous structure function studies have demonstrated that arginine residues in the H3 relaxin B-chain are critical for binding interactions with the receptor extracellular loops and/or N-terminal domain. Hence we have concentrated on determining the ligand interacting sites in these domains and have focused on glutamic (E) and aspartic acid (D) residues in these regions that may form electrostatic interactions with these critical arginine residues. Conserved D/E residues identified from vertebrate species multiple sequence alignments were mutated to Ala in human RXFP3 to test the effect of loss of amino acid side chain on receptor binding using a Eu-labeled relaxin-3 agonist. Finally data from mutagenesis experiments have been used in ligand docking simulations to a homology model of human RXFP3 based on the peptide-bound chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) structure. These studies have resulted in a model of the relaxin-3 interaction with RXFP3 which will inform further interrogation of the agonist binding site.Frontiers in endocrinology. 01/2013; 4:13.