Christian Tränkle

University of Bonn, Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (78)281.86 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A series of new dibenzodiazepinone-type muscarinic receptor ligands, including two homo-dimeric compounds, was prepared. Sixteen representative compounds were characterized in equilibrium binding studies with [3H]N-methylscopolamine ([3H]NMS) at the muscarinic receptor subtype M2, and seven selected compounds were additionally investigated at M1, M3, M4 and M5 with respect to receptor subtype selectivity. The side chain of the known M2 preferring muscarinic receptor antagonist DIBA was widely varied with respect to chain length and type of the basic group (amine, imidazole, guanidine and piperazine). Most of the structural changes were well tolerated with respect to muscarinic receptor binding, determined by displacement of [3H]NMS. Compounds investigated at all subtypes shared a similar selectivity profile, which can be summarized as M2 > M1 ≈ M4 > M3 ≈ M5 (46, 50, 57, 62-64) and M2 > M1 ≈ M4 > M3 > M5 (1, 58). The homo-dimeric dibenzodiazepinone derivatives UNSW-MK250 (63) and UNSW-MK262 (64) exhibited the highest M2 receptor affinities (pIC50 = 9.0 and 9.2, resp.). At the M2 receptor a steep curve slope of -2 was found for the dimeric ligand 63, which cannot be described according to the law of mass action, suggesting a more complex mechanism of binding. In addition to equilibrium binding studies, for selected ligands, we determined pEC50,diss, an estimate of affinity to the allosteric site of [3H]NMS occupied M2 receptors. Compounds 58 and 62-64 were capable of retarding [3H]NMS dissociation by a factor > 10 (Emax,diss > 92%), with highest potency (pEC50,diss = 5.56) residing in the dimeric compound 64. As the monomeric counterpart of 64 was 100 times less potent (62: pEC50,diss = 3.59), these data suggest that chemical dimerization of dibenzodiazepinone-type M receptor ligands can enhance allosteric binding.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Aiming to design partial agonists for a G-protein-coupled receptor based on dynamic ligand binding, we synthesized three different series of bipharmacophoric ligands composed of the orthosteric building blocks iperoxo and 1 linked to allosteric modulators (BQCA-derived compounds, BQCAd; TBPB-derived compound, TBPBd). Their interactions were studied with the human muscarinic acetylcholine M1-receptor (hM1) with respect to receptor binding and Gq-protein signaling. Results demonstrate that iperoxo/BQCAd (2, 3) and 1/BQCAd hybrids (4) act as M1 partial agonists whereas 1/TBPBd hybrids (5) did not activate M1-receptors. Among the iperoxo/BQCAd-hybrids, spacer length in conjunction with the pattern of substitution tuned efficacy. Most interestingly, a model of dynamic ligand binding revealed that the spacer length of 2a and 3a controlled the probability of switch between the inactive purely allosteric and the active bitopic orthosteric/allosteric binding pose. In summary, dynamic ligand binding can be exploited in M1 receptors to design partial agonists with graded efficacy.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 12/2014; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GPCRs are integrative signaling hubs which can change their signaling dynamically in space and time.•Dynamic ligand binding is a novel basis for the rational design of partial agonists for any GPCR.•Dualsteric GPCR targeting might generally lead to biased agonism.•Compartmentalized GPCR signaling is a new principle which may translate into drug discovery.
    Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 10/2014; · 9.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nine novel β- and γ-carboline derivatives bearing either methyl-, propargyl- or phenethyl-residues at the indole nitrogen were synthesized and tested as potential anti-Alzheimer drugs. Antagonism of recombinantly expressed NMDA receptors, inhibition of cholinesterases, and radical scavenging properties were determined for all compounds. Some were additionally tested in vivo for their ability to reverse scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment in an 8-arm radial maze experiment with rats. For the most promising candidates, the interaction with muscarinic M1 receptors was also investigated. With this set of compounds assays the influence of the scaffold itself and the substituents can be investigated separately. 5-Methyl-γ-carboline (6) was the most potent (0.25 μmol/100 g b.w.) compound in the in vivo test and might be a good starting point for the development of novel anti-Alzheimer drugs.
    European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2014; 87C:63-70. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new series of analogues of the calabash curare alkaloid toxiferine I was prepared and pharmacologically evaluated at α7 and muscle-type nAChRs and the allosteric site of muscarinic M2 receptors. The new ligands differ from toxiferine I by the absence of one (2a-c) or two (3a-c) hydroxy groups, saturation of the exocyclic double bonds, and various N-substituents (methyl, allyl, 4-nitrobenzyl). At the muscle-type nAChRs, most ligands showed similar binding to the muscle relaxant alcuronium, indicating neuromuscular blocking activity, with the nonhydroxylated analogues 3b (Ki = 75 nM) and 3c (Ki = 82 nM) displaying the highest affinity. At α7 nAChRs, all ligands showed a moderate to low antagonistic effect, suggesting that the alcoholic functions are not necessary for antagonistic action. Compound 3c exerted the highest preference for the muscle-type nAChRs (Ki = 82 nM) over α7 (IC50 = 21 μM). As for the allosteric site of M2 receptors, binding was found to be dependent on N-substitution rather than on the nature of the side chains. The most potent ligands were the N-allyl analogues 2b and 3b (EC0.5,diss = 12 and 36 nM) and the N-nitrobenzyl derivatives 2c and 3c (EC0.5,diss = 32 and 49 nM). The present findings should help delineate the structural requirements for activity at different types of AChRs and for the design of novel selective ligands.
    Journal of Natural Products 09/2014; · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of G protein-coupled receptors involves major conformational changes of the receptor protein ranging from the extracellular transmitter binding site to the intracellular G protein binding surface. GPCRs such as the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors are commonly probed with radioantagonists rather than radioagonists due to better physicochemical stability, higher affinity, and indifference towards receptor coupling states of the former. Here we introduce tritiated iperoxo, a superagonist at muscarinic M2 receptors with very high affinity. In membrane suspensions of transfected CHO-cells, [(3)H]iperoxo - unlike the common radioagonists [(3)H]acetylcholine and [(3)H]oxotremorine M - allowed labelling of each of the five muscarinic receptor subtypes in radioagonist displacement and saturation binding studies. [(3)H]iperoxo revealed considerable differences in affinity between the even- and the odd-numbered muscarinic receptor subtypes with affinities for the M2 and M4 receptor in the picomolar range. Probing ternary complex formation on the M2 receptor, [(3)H]iperoxo dissociation was not influenced by an archetypal allosteric inverse agonist, reflecting activation-related rearrangement of the extracellular loop region. At the inner side of M2, the preferred Gi protein acted as a positive allosteric modulator of [(3)H]iperoxo binding, whereas Gs and Gq were neutral in spite of their robust coupling to the activated receptor. In intact CHO-hM2 cells, endogenous guanylnucleotides promoted receptor/G protein-dissociation resulting in low-affinity agonist binding which, nevertheless, was still reported by [(3)H]iperoxo. Taken together, the muscarinic superagonist [(3)H]iperoxo is the best tool currently available for direct probing activation-related conformational transitions of muscarinic receptors.
    Biochemical Pharmacology 05/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new concept of partial agonism at G protein-coupled receptors. We demonstrate the coexistence of two functionally distinct populations of the muscarinic M2 receptor stabilized by one dynamic ligand, which binds in two opposite orientations. The ratio of orientations determines the cellular response. Our concept allows predicting and virtually titrating ligand efficacy, which opens unprecedented opportunities for the design of drugs with graded activation of the biological system.
    Nature Chemical Biology 11/2013; · 12.95 Impact Factor
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    Klaus Mohr, Christian Tränkle
    Archiv für Experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 06/2013; 386(11). · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Die Zellmembran-ständigen G-Protein-gekoppelten Rezeptoren (GPCRs) gehören zu den wichtigsten therapeutischen Zielstrukturen. Körpereigene Botenstoffe binden von außen an die “orthosterische” Haftstelle in der Tiefe der Bindungstasche oder am extrazellulären N-terminalen Ende des Rezeptorproteins. Körperfremde Modulatoren, die ein anderes “allosterisches” Haftareal nutzen, ebnen den Weg zu Rezeptorsubtypselektivität. Allerdings ist Rezeptoraktivierung über den orthosterischen Ort häufig besser möglich. Jetzt zeigt sich, dass orthosterisch/allosterische Hybridmoleküle Subtypselektivität und Rezeptoraktivierung vereinen können. Die “bitopischen”/“dualsterischen” Modulatoren vermögen außerdem, den Rezeptor auf eine selektive Anschaltung intrazellulärer Signalwege auszurichten. Dieses Konzept bietet den Zugang zu GPCR-Modulatoren mit neuartigem Rezeptorsubtyp- und Signalwegs-Selektivitätsprofil und somit zu nebenwirkungsärmeren Wirkstoffen.
    Angewandte Chemie 01/2013; 125(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-membrane-spanning G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the most important therapeutic target structures. Endogenous transmitters bind from the outer side of the membrane to the "orthosteric" binding site either deep in the binding pocket or at the extracellular N-terminal end of the receptor protein. Exogenous modulators that utilize a different, "allosteric", binding site unveil a pathway to receptor subtype-selectivity. However, receptor activation through the orthosteric area is often more powerful. Recently there has been evidence that orthosteric/allosteric, in other words "dualsteric", hybrid compounds unite subtype selectivity and receptor activation. These "bitopic" modulators channelreceptor activation and subsequent intracellular signaling into a subset of possible routes. This concept offers access to GPCR modulators with an unprecedented receptor-subtype and signaling selectivity profile and, as a consequence, to drugs with fewer side effects.
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 12/2012; · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Seven transmembrane helical receptors (7TMRs) modulate cell function via different types of G proteins, often in a ligand-specific manner. Class A 7TMRs harbour allosteric vestibules in the entrance of their ligand-binding cavities, which are in the focus of current drug discovery. However, their biological function remains enigmatic. Here we present a new strategy for probing and manipulating conformational transitions in the allosteric vestibule of label-free 7TMRs using the M(2) acetylcholine receptor as a paradigm. We designed dualsteric agonists as 'tailor-made' chemical probes to trigger graded receptor activation from the acetylcholine-binding site while simultaneously restricting spatial flexibility of the receptor's allosteric vestibule. Our findings reveal for the first time that a 7TMR's allosteric vestibule controls the extent of receptor movement to govern a hierarchical order of G-protein coupling. This is a new concept assigning a biological role to the allosteric vestibule for controlling fidelity of 7TMR signalling.
    Nature Communications 09/2012; 3:1044. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The occurrence of orthosteric and allosteric binding sites is a characteristic common feature of several acetylcholine- binding proteins, like acetylcholinesterase or the nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. These proteins are involved in a number of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, and represent important therapeutic targets for the development of heterodimeric ligands addressing both of their binding sites. Among the pharmacophores, which have been combined in such heterodimers, the tetrahydroacridine derivative tacrine has attracted particular interest. This review discusses the chemistry behind the linker connection of tacrine to other pharmacophores and summarizes the types of linkers established to date. Especially, the development of a hydrazide linker for tacrine-derived heterodimers is highlighted by applications in the inhibition of cholinesterases, the bivalent binding to nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, as well as the histochemical imaging of acetylcholinesterase and amyloid-β.
    Current topics in medicinal chemistry 11/2011; 11(22):2731-48. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allosteric agonists are powerful tools for exploring the pharmacology of closely related G protein-coupled receptors that have nonselective endogenous ligands, such as the short chain fatty acids at free fatty acid receptors 2 and 3 (FFA2/GPR43 and FFA3/GPR41, respectively). We explored the molecular mechanisms mediating the activity of 4-chloro-α-(1-methylethyl)-N-2-thiazolylbenzeneacetamide (4-CMTB), a recently described phenylacetamide allosteric agonist and allosteric modulator of endogenous ligand function at human FFA2, by combining our previous knowledge of the orthosteric binding site with targeted examination of 4-CMTB structure-activity relationships and mutagenesis and chimeric receptor generation. Here we show that 4-CMTB is a selective agonist for FFA2 that binds to a site distinct from the orthosteric site of the receptor. Ligand structure-activity relationship studies indicated that the N-thiazolyl amide is likely to provide hydrogen bond donor/acceptor interactions with the receptor. Substitution at Leu(173) or the exchange of the entire extracellular loop 2 of FFA2 with that of FFA3 was sufficient to reduce or ablate, respectively, allosteric communication between the endogenous and allosteric agonists. Thus, we conclude that extracellular loop 2 of human FFA2 is required for transduction of cooperative signaling between the orthosteric and an as-yet-undefined allosteric binding site of the FFA2 receptor that is occupied by 4-CMTB.
    Molecular pharmacology 07/2011; 80(1):163-73. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant glioma represents one of the most aggressive and lethal human neoplasias. A hallmark of gliomas is their rapid proliferation and destruction of vital brain tissue, a process in which excessive glutamate release by glioma cells takes center stage. Pharmacologic antagonism with glutamate signaling through ionotropic glutamate receptors attenuates glioma progression in vivo, indicating that glutamate release by glioma cells is a prerequisite for rapid glioma growth. Glutamate has been suggested to promote glioma cell proliferation in an autocrine or paracrine manner, in particular by activation of the (RS)-α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid hydrate (AMPA) subtype of glutamate receptors. Here, we dissect the effects of glutamate secretion on glioma progression. Glioma cells release glutamate through the amino-acid antiporter system X(c)(-), a process that is mechanistically linked with cystine incorporation. We show that disrupting glutamate secretion by interfering with the system X(c)(-) activity attenuates glioma cell proliferation solely cystine dependently, whereas glutamate itself does not augment glioma cell growth in vitro. Neither AMPA receptor agonism nor antagonism affects glioma growth in vitro. On a molecular level, AMPA insensitivity is concordant with a pronounced transcriptional downregulation of AMPA receptor subunits or overexpression of the fully edited GluR2 subunit, both of which block receptor activity. Strikingly, AMPA receptor inhibition in tumor-implanted brain slices resulted in markedly reduced tumor progression associated with alleviated neuronal cell death, suggesting that the ability of glutamate to promote glioma progression strictly requires the tumor microenvironment. Concerning a potential pharmacotherapy, targeting system X(c)(-) activity disrupts two major pathophysiological properties of glioma cells, that is, the induction of excitotoxic neuronal cell death and incorporation of cystine required for rapid proliferation.
    Oncogene 01/2011; 30(1):43-53. · 8.56 Impact Factor
  • Ruanto Li, Christian Traenkle, Klaus Mohr, Ulrike Holzgrabe
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 08/2010; 32(35).
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    ABSTRACT: A set of amide- and amine-linked hybrid molecules comprising moieties of the orthosteric M(1) muscarinic receptor agonist xanomeline and the cholinesterase inhibitor and allosteric receptor modulator tacrine were prepared with varying spacer length of 10-17 atoms. The hybrids inhibited acetylcholinesterase with similar or higher potency compared to tacrine. M(1) receptor binding affinity was similar or higher relative to xanomeline and far higher relative to tacrine. Affinities hardly changed when the receptors' orthosteric site was occupied by an inverse agonist ligand. When occupied by the orthosteric activator acetylcholine, affinity for the hybrids declined to unmeasureably low levels. Hybrids did not activate M(1) receptors. In vivo studies assaying cognition impairment in rats induced by scopolamine revealed pronounced enhancement of scopolamine action. Taken together, instead of dualsteric (simultaneous allosteric/orthosteric) binding, the hybrids seem to prefer purely allosteric binding at the inactive M(1) receptor.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2010; 53(5):2094-103. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dualsteric ligands represent a novel mode of targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These compounds attach simultaneously to both, the orthosteric transmitter binding site and an additional allosteric binding area of a receptor protein. This approach allows the exploitation of favourable characteristics of the orthosteric and the allosteric site by a single ligand molecule. The orthosteric interaction provides high affinity binding and activation of receptors. The allosteric interaction yields receptor subtype-selectivity and, in addition, may modulate both, efficacy and intracellular signalling pathway activation. Insight into the spatial arrangement of the orthosteric and the allosteric site is far advanced in the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, and the design of dualsteric muscarinic agonists has now been accomplished. Using the muscarinic receptor as a paradigm, this review summarizes the way from suggestive evidence for an orthosteric/allosteric overlap binding to the rational design and experimental validation of dualsteric ligands. As allosteric interactions are increasingly described for GPCRs and as insight into the spatial geometry of ligand/GPCR-complexes is growing impressively, the rational design of dualsteric drugs is a promising new approach to achieve fine-tuned GPCR-modulation.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 02/2010; 159(5):997-1008. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are potential candidates for therapeutic approaches in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)--a common autosomal recessive disorder and frequent cause of early childhood death. SMA is caused by homozygous absence of SMN1. Importantly, all SMA patients carry a nearly identical copy gene, SMN2, that produces only minor levels of correctly spliced full-length transcripts and SMN protein. Since an increased number of SMN2 copies strongly correlates with a milder SMA phenotype, activation or stabilization of SMN2 is considered as a therapeutic strategy. However, clinical trials demonstrated effectiveness of the HDACi valproate (VPA) and phenylbutyrate only in <50% of patients; therefore, identification of new drugs is of vital importance. Here we characterize the novel hydroxamic acid LBH589, an HDACi already widely used in cancer clinical trials. LBH589 treatment of human SMA fibroblasts induced up to 10-fold elevated SMN levels, the highest ever reported, accompanied by a markedly increased number of gems. FL-SMN2 levels were increased 2-3-fold by transcription activation via SMN2 promoter H3K9 hyperacetylation and restoration of correct splicing via elevated hTRA2-beta1 levels. Furthermore, LBH589 stabilizes SMN by reducing its ubiquitinylation as well as favouring incorporation into the SMN complex. Cytotoxic effects were not detectable at SMN2 activating concentrations. Notably, LBH589 also induces SMN2 expression in SMA fibroblasts inert to VPA, in human neural stem cells and in the spinal cord of SMN2-transgenic mice. Hence, LBH589, which is active already at nanomolar doses, is a highly promising candidate for SMA therapy.
    Human Molecular Genetics 08/2009; 18(19):3645-58. · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allosteric receptor ligands bind to a recognition site that is distinct from the binding site of the endogenous messenger molecule. As a consequence, allosteric agents may attach to receptors that are already transmitter-bound. Ternary complex formation opens an avenue to qualitatively new drug actions at G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), in particular receptor subtype selective potentiation of endogenous transmitter action. Consequently, suitable exploitation of allosteric recognition sites as alternative molecular targets could pave the way to a drug discovery paradigm different from those aimed at mimicking or blocking the effects of endogenous (orthosteric) receptor activators. The number of allosteric ligands reported to modulate GPCR function is steadily increasing and some have already reached routine clinical use. This review aims at introducing into this fascinating field of drug discovery and at providing an overview about the achievements that have already been made. Various case examples will be discussed in the framework of GPCR classification (family A, B, and C receptors). In addition, the behavior at muscarinic receptors of hybrid derivatives incorporating both an allosteric and an orthosteric fragment in a common molecular skeleton will be illustrated.
    Medicinal Research Reviews 07/2009; 30(3):463-549. · 8.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Selective modulation of cell function by G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation is highly desirable for basic research and therapy but difficult to achieve. We present a novel strategy toward this goal using muscarinic acetylcholine receptors as a model. The five subtypes bind their physiological transmitter in the highly conserved orthosteric site within the transmembrane domains of the receptors. Orthosteric muscarinic activators have no binding selectivity and poor signaling specificity. There is a less well conserved allosteric site at the extracellular entrance of the binding pocket. To gain subtype-selective receptor activation, we synthesized two hybrids fusing a highly potent oxotremorine-like orthosteric activator with M(2)-selective bis(ammonio)alkane-type allosteric fragments. Radioligand binding in wild-type and mutant receptors supplemented by receptor docking simulations proved M(2) selective and true allosteric/orthosteric binding. G protein activation measurements using orthosteric and allosteric blockers identified the orthosteric part of the hybrid to engender receptor activation. Hybrid-induced dynamic mass redistribution in CHO-hM(2) cells disclosed pathway-specific signaling. Selective receptor activation (M(2)>M(1)>M(3)) was verified in living tissue preparations. As allosteric sites are increasingly recognized on GPCRs, the dualsteric concept of GPCR targeting represents a new avenue toward potent agonists for selective receptor and signaling pathway activation.
    The FASEB Journal 10/2008; 23(2):442-50. · 5.48 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
281.86 Total Impact Points


  • 1994–2015
    • University of Bonn
      • • Pharmaceutical Institute
      • • Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2000–2010
    • University of Wuerzburg
      • Institute of Pharmacy and Food Chemistry
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2008
    • University of Cologne
      • Institute of Human Genetics
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2001
    • Beijing Medical University
      • School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Peping, Beijing, China