[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bifunctional μ- and δ-opioid receptor (OR) ligands are potential therapeutic alternatives, with diminished side effects, to alkaloid opiate analgesics. We solved the structure of human δ-OR bound to the bifunctional δ-OR antagonist and μ-OR agonist tetrapeptide H-Dmt-Tic-Phe-Phe-NH2 (DIPP-NH2) by serial femtosecond crystallography, revealing a cis-peptide bond between H-Dmt and Tic. The observed receptor-peptide interactions are critical for understanding of the pharmacological profiles of opioid peptides and for development of improved analgesics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The discovery of a new series of compounds that are potent, selective 5-HT2C receptor agonists is described herein, as we continue our efforts to optimize the 2-phenylcyclopropylmethylamine scaffold. Modifications focused on the alkoxyl substituent present on the aromatic ring led to the identification of improved ligands with better potency at the 5-HT2C receptor and excellent selectivity against the 5-HT2A and 5-HT2B receptors. ADMET studies coupled with a behavioral test using the amphetamine-induced hyperactivity model identified four compounds possessing drug-like profiles and having antipsychotic properties. Compound (+)-16b, which displayed an EC50 of 4.2 nM at 5-HT2C, no activity at 5-HT2B, and an 89-fold selectivity against 5-HT2A, is one of the most potent and selective 5-HT2C agonists reported to date. The likely binding mode of this series of compounds to the 5-HT2C receptor was also investigated in a modeling study, using optimized models incorporating the structures of β2-adrenergic receptor and 5-HT2B receptor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, two independent technologies have emerged and been widely adopted by the neuroscience community for remotely controlling neuronal activity: optogenetics which utilize engineered channelrhodopsin and other opsins, and chemogenetics which utilize engineered G protein-coupled receptors (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs)) and other orthologous ligand-receptor pairs. Using directed molecular evolution, two types of DREADDs derived from human muscarinic acetylcholine receptors have been developed: hM3Dq which activates neuronal firing, and hM4Di which inhibits neuronal firing. Importantly, these DREADDs were not activated by the native ligand acetylcholine, but selectively activated by clozapine N-oxide (CNO), a pharmacologically inert ligand. CNO has been used extensively in rodent models to activate DREADDs and although CNO is not subject to significant metabolic transformation in mice, a small fraction of CNO is apparently metabolized to clozapine in humans and guinea pigs, lessening the translational potential of DREADDs. To effectively translate the DREADD technology, the next generation of DREADD agonists are needed and a thorough understanding of structure - activity relationships (SAR) of DREADDs is required for developing such ligands. We therefore conducted the first SAR studies of hM3Dq. We explored multiple regions of the scaffold represented by CNO, identified interesting SAR trends, and discovered several compounds that are very potent hM3Dq agonists but do not activate the native human M3 receptor (hM3). We also discovered that the approved drug perlapine is a novel hM3Dq agonist with >10,000-fold selectivity for hM3Dq over hM3.
ACS Chemical Neuroscience 01/2015; · 4.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypothesis that functionally selective GPCR agonists may have enhanced therapeutic benefits has revitalized interest for many GPCR targets. In particular, although κ-opioid receptor (KOR) agonists are analgesic with a low risk of dependence and abuse, their utility is limited by a propensity to induce sedation, motor incoordination, hallucinations and dysphoria-like states. Several labs have produced a body of work implying that G-protein biased KOR agonists might be analgesic with fewer side-effects. Although this has been an intriguing hypothesis, suitably KOR selective and G-protein biased agonists have not been available to test this idea. Here we provide data using a G-protein biased agonist RB-64 which suggests that KOR-mediated G protein signaling induces analgesia and aversion, whereas β-arrestin 2 signaling may be associated with motor incoordination. Additionally, unlike unbiased KOR agonists, the G protein-biased ligand RB 64 does not induce sedation and does not have anhedonia-like actions, suggesting that a mechanism other than G protein signaling mediates these effects. Our findings provide the first evidence with a highly selective and G-protein biased tool compound that many, but not all, of the negative side effects of KOR agonists can be minimized by creating G protein biased KOR agonists.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 10/2014; · 3.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the past decade, emerging synthetic biology technologies such as chemogenetics have dramatically transformed how pharmacologists and systems biologists deconstruct the involvement of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in a myriad of physiological and translational settings. Here we highlight a specific chemogenetic application that extends the utility of the concept of RASSLs (receptors activated solely by synthetic ligands): We have dubbed it DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs). As we show in this review, DREADDs are now used ubiquitously to modulate GPCR activity noninvasively in vivo. Results from these studies have directly implicated GPCR signaling in a large number of therapeutically relevant contexts. We also highlight recent applications of DREADD technology that have illuminated GPCR signaling processes that control pathways relevant to the treatment of eating disorders, obesity, and obesity-associated metabolic abnormalities. Additionally, we provide an overview of the potential utility of chemogenetic technologies for transformative therapeutics. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology Volume 55 is January 06, 2015. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
Annual Review of Pharmacology 09/2014; · 18.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neoclerodane diterpenoid salvinorin A is a major secondary metabolite isolated from the psychoactive plant Salvia divinorum. Salvinorin A has been shown to have high affinity and selectivity for the κ-opioid receptor (KOR). To study the ligand-receptor interactions that occur between salvinorin A and the KOR, a new series of salvinorin A derivatives bearing potentially reactive Michael acceptor functional groups at C-2 was synthesized and used to probe the salvinorin A binding site. The κ-, δ-, and μ-opioid receptor (KOR, DOR and MOR, respectively) binding affinities and KOR efficacies were measured for the new compounds. Although none showed wash-resistant irreversible binding, most of them showed high affinity for the KOR, and some exhibited dual affinity to KOR and MOR. Molecular modeling techniques based on the recently-determined crystal structure of the KOR combined with results from mutagenesis studies, competitive binding, functional assays and structure-activity relationships, and previous salvinorin A-KOR interaction models were used to identify putative interaction modes of the new compounds with the KOR and MOR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work from our labs has indicated that a tropane analog of haloperidol with potent D2 binding but designed to avoid the formation of MPP(+)-like metabolites, such as 4-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(4-(4-fluorophenyl)-4-oxobutyl)pyridin-1-ium (BCPP(+)) still produced catalepsy, suggesting a strong role for the D2 receptor in the production of catalepsy in rats, and hence EPS in humans. This study tested the hypothesis that further modifications of the tropane analog to produce compounds with less potent binding to the D2 receptor than haloperidol, would produce less catalepsy. These tests have now revealed that while haloperidol produced maximum catalepsy, these compounds produced moderate to low levels of catalepsy. Compound 9, with the least binding affinity to the D2R, produced the least catalepsy and highest Minimum Adverse Effective Dose (MAED) of the analogs tested regardless of their affinities at other receptors including the 5-HT1AR. These observations support the hypothesis that moderation of the D2 binding of the tropane analogs could reduce catalepsy potential in rats and consequently EPS in man.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Smoothened receptor (SMO) mediates signal transduction in the hedgehog pathway, which is implicated in normal development and carcinogenesis. SMO antagonists can suppress the growth of some tumours; however, mutations at SMO have been found to abolish their antitumour effects, a phenomenon known as chemoresistance. Here we report three crystal structures of human SMO bound to the antagonists SANT1 and Anta XV, and the agonist, SAG1.5, at 2.6-2.8 Å resolution. The long and narrow cavity in the transmembrane domain of SMO harbours multiple ligand binding sites, where SANT1 binds at a deeper site as compared with other ligands. Distinct interactions at D473(6.54f) elucidated the structural basis for the differential effects of chemoresistance mutations on SMO antagonists. The agonist SAG1.5 induces a conformational rearrangement of the binding pocket residues, which could contribute to SMO activation. Collectively, these studies reveal the structural basis for the modulation of SMO by small molecules.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this issue of Neuron, Stachniak et al. (2014) determine that the chemogenetic silencer hM4Di-DREADD suppresses presynaptic glutamate release, and by generating an axon-targeted hM4Di variant they demonstrate that it can be used to locally silence synaptic transmission in neural circuits.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GPR88 is an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) enriched in the striatum. Genetic deletion and gene expression studies have suggested that GPR88 plays an important role in the regulation of striatal functions and is implicated in psychiatric disorders. The signal transduction pathway and receptor functions of GPR88, however, are still largely unknown due to the lack of endogenous and synthetic ligands. In this paper, we report the synthesis of a GPR88 agonist 2-PCCA and its pure diastereomers, which were functionally characterized in both transiently and stably expressing GPR88 HEK293 cells. 2-PCCA inhibited isoproterenol-stimulated cAMP accumulation in a concentration-dependent manner in cells expressing GPR88 but not in the control cells, suggesting that the observed cAMP inhibition is mediated through GPR88 and that GPR88 is coupled to Gαi. 2-PCCA did not induce calcium mobilization in GPR88 cells, indicating no Gαq-mediated response. A structure-activity relationship (SAR) study of 2-PCCA was also conducted to explore the key structural features for GPR88 agonist activity.
ACS Chemical Neuroscience 05/2014; · 4.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite their functional and structural diversity, G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) share a common mechanism of signal transduction via conformational changes in the seven-transmembrane (7TM) helical domain. New major insights into this mechanism come from the recent crystallographic discoveries of a partially hydrated sodium ion that is specifically bound in the middle of the 7TM bundle of multiple class A GPCRs. This review discusses the remarkable structural conservation and distinct features of the Na(+) pocket in this most populous GPCR class, as well as the conformational collapse of the pocket on receptor activation. New insights help to explain allosteric effects of sodium on GPCR agonist binding and activation, and highlight its role as a key co-factor in class A GPCR function.
Trends in Biochemical Sciences 04/2014; · 13.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dopamine D4 receptor has been shown to play key roles in certain CNS pathologies including addiction to cigarette smoking. Thus, selective D4 ligands may be useful in treating some of these conditions. Previous studies in our laboratory have indicated that the piperazine analog of haloperidol exhibits selective and increased affinity to the DAD4 receptor subtype, in comparison to its piperidine analog. This led to further exploration of the piperazine moiety to identify new agents that are selective at the D4 receptor. Compound 27 (KiD4=0.84nM) was the most potent of the compounds tested. However, it only had moderate selectivity for the D4 receptor. Compound 28 (KiD4=3.9nM) while not as potent, was more discriminatory for the D4 receptor subtype. In fact, compound 28 has little or no binding affinity to any of the other four DA receptor subtypes. In addition, of the 23 CNS receptors evaluated, only two, 5HT1AR and 5HT2BR, have binding affinity constants better than 100nM (Ki <100nM). Compound 28 is a potentially useful D4-selective ligand for probing disease treatments involving the D4 receptor, such as assisting smoking cessation, reversing cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and treating erectile dysfunction. Thus, further optimization, functional characterization and evaluation in animal models may be warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family is among the most druggable families in the human proteome. GPCRs are involved in most physiological processes, and our ability to modulate their activity is a hallmark of modern pharmacology. The means by which the activity of GPCRs can be modulated have been expanded by emerging data and concepts in pharmacology, which has created new strategies for their control. These new approaches will lead to the generation of more potent, selective, and efficient pharmaceutics, while reducing inappropriate actions and adverse effects. Herein, we review and comment on some recent advances in chemical and genetic approaches to the profiling of GPCR function, as well as the validation of orphan GPCRs as potential therapeutic targets using engineered receptors.
Current opinion in cell biology 04/2014; 27C:51-55. · 14.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic consolidation is a process thought to consolidate memory in the brain. Although lesion studies have mainly implicated the hippocampus in this process, it is unknown which cell type(s) or regions of the hippocampus might be essential for synaptic consolidation. To selectively and reversibly suppress hippocampal neuronal activity during this process, we developed a new Gi-DREADD (hM4Di) transgenic mouse for in vivo manipulation of neuronal activity in freely moving animals. We found that CA1 pyramidal neurons could be dose-dependently inactivated by clozapine-n-oxide (CNO). Inactivation of hippocampal neurons within 6 h immediately after conditioned fear training successfully impaired the consolidation of contextual memory, without disturbing cued memory. To anatomically define the brain subregion critical for the behavioral effects, hM4Di viral vectors were transduced and selectively expressed in the glutamatergic neurons in either the dorsal or ventral hippocampus. Significantly, we found that selective inactivation of ventral but not dorsal glutamatergic hippocampal neurons suppressed the synaptic consolidation of contextualmemory.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 14 February 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.35.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2014; · 8.68 Impact Factor