Klaus Seuwen

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Are you Klaus Seuwen?

Claim your profile

Publications (51)257.02 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antagonism of the calcium-sensing receptor in the parathyroid gland leads to parathyroid hormone (PTH) release. Calcilytics are a new class of molecules designed to exploit this mechanism. In order to mimic the known bone-anabolic pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of s.c. administered PTH, such molecules must trigger sharp, transient and robust release of PTH. The results of two early clinical studies with the orally-active calcilytic AXT914, a quinazolin-2ne derivative are reported. These were GCP-compliant, single and multiple dose studies of PK/PD and tolerability in healthy volunteers and postmenopausal women. The first study, examined single ascending doses (4 to 120mg) and limited multiple doses (60 or 120mg q.d. for 12days) of AXT914. The second study was a randomized, double-blind, active- and placebo-controlled, 4-week repeat-dose parallel group study of healthy postmenopausal women (45 and 60mg AXT914, placebo, 20μg Forteo / teriparatide / PTH(1-34) fragment). AXT914 was well tolerated at all doses and reproducibly induced the desired PTH-release profiles. Yet, 4weeks of 45 or 60mg AXT914 did not result in the expected changes in circulating bone biomarkers seen with teriparatide. However total serum calcium levels increased above baseline in the 45 and 60mg AXT914 treatment groups (8.0 % and 10.7%, respectively), compared to that in the teriparatide and placebo groups (1.3% and 1.0%, respectively). Thus the trial was terminated after a planned interim analysis due to lack of effect on bone formation biomarkers and dose-limiting effects on serum calcium. In conclusion, AXT914 was well tolerated but the observed transient and reproducible PTH-release after repeat oral administration of AXT914 which showed an exposure profile close to that of s c. PTH, did not translate into a bone anabolic response and was associated with a persistent dose-related increase in serum calcium concentrations.
    Bone 04/2014; · 4.46 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Oxysterols have recently been identified as natural ligands for a G protein-coupled receptor called EBI2 (aka GPR183) 1, 2. EBI2 is highly expressed in immune cells 3 and its activation has been shown to be critical for the adaptive immune response and has been genetically linked to autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes 4. Here we describe the isolation of a potent small molecule antagonist for the EBI2 receptor. First we identified a small molecule agonist 1 (NIBR51), which enabled identification of inhibitors of receptor activation. One antagonist called 2 (NIBR127) was used as a starting point for a medicinal chemistry campaign which yielded 4m (NIBR189). This compound was extensively characterized in binding and various functional signaling assays. Furthermore we have used 4m to block migration of a monocyte cell line called U937, suggesting a functional role of the oxysterol/EBI2 pathway in these immune cells.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2014; · 5.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hedgehog (Hh) signaling determines cell fate during development and can drive tumorigenesis. We performed a screen for new compounds that can impinge on Hh signaling downstream of Smoothened (Smo). A series of cyclohexyl-methyl aminopyrimidine chemotype compounds ('CMAPs') were identified that could block pathway signaling in a Smo-independent manner. In addition to inhibiting Hh signaling, the compounds generated inositol phosphates through an unknown GPCR. Correlation of GPCR mRNA expression levels with compound activity across cell lines suggested the target to be the orphan receptor GPR39. RNA interference or cDNA overexpression of GPR39 demonstrated that the receptor is necessary for compound activity. We propose a model in which CMAPs activate GPR39, which signals to the Gli transcription factors and blocks signaling. In addition to the discovery of GPR39 as a new target that impinges on Hh signaling, we report on small-molecule modulators of the receptor that will enable in vitro interrogation of GPR39 signaling in different cellular contexts.
    Nature Chemical Biology 03/2014; · 12.95 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Oxysterols such as 7 alpha, 25-dihydroxycholesterol (7α,25-OHC) are natural ligands for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced gene 2 (EBI2, aka GPR183), a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) highly expressed in immune cells and required for adaptive immune responses. Activation of EBI2 by specific oxysterols leads to chemotaxis of B cells in lymphoid tissues. While the ligand gradient necessary for this critical process of the adaptive immune response is established by a stromal cells subset here we investigate the involvement of the oxysterol / EBI2 system in the innate immune response. First, we show that primary human macrophages express EBI2 and the enzymes needed for ligand production such as cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H), sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1), and oxysterol 7 α -hydroxylase (CYP7B1). Furthermore, challenge of monocyte-derived macrophages with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) triggers a strong up-regulation of CH25H and CYP7B1 in comparison to a transient increase in EBI2 expression. Stimulation of EBI2 expressed on macrophages leads to calcium mobilization and to directed cell migration. Supernatants of LPS-stimulated macrophages are able to stimulate EBI2 signaling indicating that an induction of CH25H, CYP27A1, and CYP7B1 results in an enhanced production and release of oxysterols into the cellular environment. This is a study characterizing the oxysterol / EBI2 pathway in primary monocyte-derived macrophages. Given the crucial functional role of macrophages in the innate immune response these results encourage further exploration of a possible link to systemic autoimmunity.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2014; · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antagonism of the calcium-sensing receptor in the parathyroid gland leads to parathyroid hormone (PTH) release. Calcilytics are a new class of molecules designed to exploit this mechanism. In order to mimic the known bone-anabolic pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of s.c. administered PTH, such molecules must trigger sharp, transient and robust release of PTH. The results of two early clinical studies with the orally-active calcilytic AXT914, a quinazolin-2ne derivative are reported. These were GCP-compliant, single and multiple dose studies of PK/PD and tolerability in healthy volunteers and postmenopausal women. The first study, examined single ascending doses (4 to 120 mg) and limited multiple doses (60 or 120 mg q.d. for 12 days) of AXT914. The second study was a randomized, double-blind, active- and placebo-controlled, 4-week repeat-dose parallel group study of healthy postmenopausal women (45 and 60 mg AXT914, placebo, 20 μg Forteo / teriparatide / PTH(1–34) fragment). AXT914 was well tolerated at all doses and reproducibly induced the desired PTH-release profiles. Yet, 4 weeks of 45 or 60 mg AXT914 did not result in the expected changes in circulating bone biomarkers seen with teriparatide. However total serum calcium levels increased above baseline in the 45 and 60 mg AXT914 treatment groups (8.0 % and 10.7%, respectively), compared to that in the teriparatide and placebo groups (1.3% and 1.0%, respectively). Thus the trial was terminated after a planned interim analysis due to lack of effect on bone formation biomarkers and dose-limiting effects on serum calcium. In conclusion, AXT914 was well tolerated but the observed transient and reproducible PTH-release after repeat oral administration of AXT914 which showed an exposure profile close to that of s c. PTH, did not translate into a bone anabolic response and was associated with a persistent dose-related increase in serum calcium concentrations.
    Bone 01/2014; · 4.46 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: The proton-activated G protein-coupled receptor GPR4 is expressed in many tissues including white adipose tissue. GPR4 is activated by extracellular protons in the physiological pH range (i.e. pH 7.7 - 6.8) and is coupled to the production of cAMP. Methods: We examined mice lacking GPR4 and examined glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in young and aged mice as well as in mice fed with a high fat diet. Expression profiles of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in white adipose tissue, liver and skeletal muscle was assessed. Results: Here we show that mice lacking GPR4 have an improved intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test and increased insulin sensitivity. Insulin levels were comparable but leptin levels were increased in GPR4 KO mice. Gpr4(-/-) showed altered expression of PPARα, IL-6, IL-10, TNFα, and TGF-1β in skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue, and liver. High fat diet abolished the differences in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity between Gpr4(+/+) and Gpr4(-/-) mice. In contrast, in aged mice (12 months old), the positive effect of GPR4 deficiency on glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity was maintained. Liver and adipose tissue showed no major differences in the mRNA expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory factors between aged mice of both genotypes. Conclusion: Thus, GPR4 deficiency improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. The effect may involve an altered balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory factors in insulin target tissues. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 11/2013; 32(5):1403-1416. · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: TLQP-21, a peptide derived from VGF (non-acronymic) by proteolytic processing has been shown to modulate energy metabolism, differentiation and cellular response to stress. Although extensively investigated, the receptor for this endogenous peptide has not previously been described. This report describes the use of a series of studies that show G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-mediated biological activity of TLQP-21 signalling in CHO-K1 cells. Unbiased genome wide sequencing of the transcriptome from responsive CHO-K1 cells identified a prioritized list of possible GPCRs bringing about this activity. Further experiments using a series of defined receptor antagonists as well as siRNAs led to the identification of the complement receptor C3AR1 as a target for TLQP-21 in rodents. We have not been able to demonstrate so far that this finding is translatable to the human receptor. Our results are in line with a large number of physiological observations in rodent models of food intake and metabolic control, where TLQP-21 shows activity. In addition, the sensitivity of TLQP-21 signalling to pertussis toxin is consistent with the known signalling pathway of the C3AR1 receptor. The binding of TLQP-21 to the C3AR1 not only has effects on signalling but it also modulates cellular functions as TLQP-21 was shown to have a role in directing migration of RAW264.7 mouse cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Ovarian cancer G protein-coupled Receptor 1 (OGR1; GPR68) is proton-sensitive in the pH range of 6.8 - 7.8. However, its physiological function is not defined to date. OGR1 signals via inositol trisphosphate and intracellular calcium, albeit downstream events are unclear. To elucidate OGR1 function further, we transfected HEK293 cells with active OGR1 receptor or a mutant lacking 5 histidine residues (H5Phe-OGR1). An acute switch of extracellular pH from 8 to 7.1 (10 nmol/l vs 90 nmol/l protons) stimulated NHE and H(+)-ATPase activity in OGR1-transfected cells, but not in H5Phe-OGR1-transfected cells. ZnCl(2) and CuCl(2) that both inhibit OGR1 reduced the stimulatory effect. The activity was blocked by chelerythrine, whereas the ERK1/2 inhibitor PD 098059 had no inhibitory effect. OGR1 activation increased intracellular calcium in transfected HEK293 cells. We next isolated proximal tubules from kidneys of wild-type and OGR1-deficient mice and measured the effect of extracellular pH on NHE activity in vitro. Deletion of OGR1 affected the pH-dependent proton extrusion, however, in the opposite direction as expected from cell culture experiments. Upregulated expression of the pH-sensitive kinase Pyk2 in OGR1 KO mouse proximal tubule cells may compensate for the loss of OGR1. Thus, we present the first evidence that OGR1 modulates the activity of two major plasma membrane proton transport systems. OGR1 may be involved in the regulation of plasma membrane transport proteins and intra- and/or extracellular pH.
    Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 01/2012; 29(3-4):313-24. · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The G protein-coupled receptor GPR4 is activated by acidic pH and recent evidence indicates that it is expressed in endothelial cells. In agreement with these reports, we observe a high correlation of GPR4 mRNA expression with endothelial marker genes, and we confirm expression and acidic pH dependent function of GPR4 in primary human vascular endothelial cells. GPR4-deficient mice were generated; these are viable and fertile and show no gross abnormalities. However, these animals show a significantly reduced angiogenic response to VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), but not to bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor), in a growth factor implant model. Accordingly, in two different orthotopic models, tumor growth is strongly reduced in mice lacking GPR4. Histological analysis of tumors indicates reduced tumor cell proliferation as well as altered vessel morphology, length and density. Moreover, GPR4 deficiency results in reduced VEGFR2 (VEGF Receptor 2) levels in endothelial cells, accounting, at least in part, for the observed phenotype. Our data suggest that endothelial cells sense local tissue acidosis via GPR4 and that this signal is required to generate a full angiogenic response to VEGF.
    Angiogenesis 11/2011; 14(4):533-44. · 4.41 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parathyroid hormone (PTH), when injected daily as either the intact hormone PTH(1-84) or the active fragment PTH(1-34) (teriparatide), is an efficacious bone anabolic treatment option for osteoporosis patients. Injections lead to rapid and transient spikes in hormone exposure levels, a profile which is a prerequisite to effectively form bone. Oral antagonists of the calcium-sensing receptor (calcilytics) stimulate PTH secretion and represent thus an alternative approach to elevate hormone levels transiently. We report here on ATF936, a novel calcilytic, which triggered rapid, transient spikes in endogenous PTH levels when given orally in single doses of 10 and 30mg/kg to growing rats, and of 1mg/kg to dogs. Eight weeks daily oral application of 30mg/kg of ATF936 to aged female rats induced in the proximal tibia metaphysis increases in bone mineral density, cancellous bone volume and cortical and trabecular thickness as evaluated by computed tomography. In healthy humans, single oral doses of ATF936 produced peak PTH levels in plasma after a median time of 1h and levels returned to normal at 24-h post-dose. The average maximum PTH concentration increase from baseline was 1.9, 3.6, and 6.0-fold at doses of 40, 70, and 140mg. ATF936 was well tolerated. The sharp, transient increase in PTH levels produced by the oral calcilytic ATF936 was comparable to the PTH profile observed after subcutaneous administration of teriparatide. In conclusion, ATF936 might hold potential as an oral bone-forming osteoporosis therapy.
    Bone 08/2011; 49(2):233-41. · 4.46 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 2 (EBI2, also known as GPR183) is a G-protein-coupled receptor that is required for humoral immune responses; polymorphisms in the receptor have been associated with inflammatory autoimmune diseases. The natural ligand for EBI2 has been unknown. Here we describe the identification of 7α,25-dihydroxycholesterol (also called 7α,25-OHC or 5-cholesten-3β,7α,25-triol) as a potent and selective agonist of EBI2. Functional activation of human EBI2 by 7α,25-OHC and closely related oxysterols was verified by monitoring second messenger readouts and saturable, high-affinity radioligand binding. Furthermore, we find that 7α,25-OHC and closely related oxysterols act as chemoattractants for immune cells expressing EBI2 by directing cell migration in vitro and in vivo. A critical enzyme required for the generation of 7α,25-OHC is cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H). Similar to EBI2 receptor knockout mice, mice deficient in CH25H fail to position activated B cells within the spleen to the outer follicle and mount a reduced plasma cell response after an immune challenge. This demonstrates that CH25H generates EBI2 biological activity in vivo and indicates that the EBI2-oxysterol signalling pathway has an important role in the adaptive immune response.
    Nature 07/2011; 475(7357):524-7. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2011; 140(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A series of novel benzimidazole derivatives has been designed via a scaffold morphing approach based on known calcilytics chemotypes. Subsequent lead optimisation led to the discovery of penta-substituted benzimidazoles that exhibit attractive in vitro and in vivo calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) inhibitory profiles. In addition, synthesis and structure-activity relationship data are provided.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 09/2010; 20(17):5161-4. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is an effective bone anabolic agent. However, only when administered by daily sc injections exposure of short duration is achieved, a prerequisite for an anabolic response. Instead of applying exogenous PTH, mobilization of endogenous stores of the hormone can be envisaged. The secretion of PTH stored in the parathyroid glands is mediated by a calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) a GPCR localized at the cell surface. Antagonists of CaSR (calcilytics) mimic a state of hypocalcaemia and stimulate PTH release to the bloodstream. Screening of the internal compound collection for inhibition of CaSR signaling function afforded 2a. In vitro potency could be improved >1000 fold by optimization of its chemical structure. The binding mode of our compounds was predicted based on molecular modeling and confirmed by testing with mutated receptors. While the compounds readily induced PTH release after iv application a special formulation was needed for oral activity. The required profile was achieved by using microemulsions. Excellent PK/PD correlation was found in rats and dogs. High levels of PTH were reached in plasma within minutes which reverted to baseline in about 1-2 h in both species.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2010; 53(5):2250-63. · 5.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Targeting sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors with the oral immunomodulator drug FTY720 (fingolimod) has demonstrated substantial efficacy in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The drug is phosphorylated in vivo, and most of the clinical effects of FTY720-phosphate (FTY720P) are thought to be mediated via S1P1 receptors on lymphocytes and endothelial cells, leading to sequestration of lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid organs. FTY720P was described to act as a "functional antagonist" by promoting efficient internalization of S1P1 receptors. We demonstrate here that S1P1 receptors activated by FTY720P retain signaling activity for hours in spite of a quantitative internalization. Structural analogs of FTY720P with shorter alkyl side chains retained potency and efficacy in a functional assay but failed to promote long-lasting receptor internalization and signaling. We show that persistent signaling translates into an increased chemokinetic migration of primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells, which suggests persistent agonism as a crucial parameter in the mechanism of action of FTY720.
    Nature Chemical Biology 07/2009; 5(6):428-34. · 12.95 Impact Factor
  • 01/2009;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Exceptionally, a single nucleotide sequence can be translated in vivo in two different frames to yield distinct proteins. In the case of the G-protein alpha subunit XL-alpha-s transcript, a frameshifted open reading frame (ORF) in exon 1 is translated to yield a structurally distinct protein called Alex, which plays a role in platelet aggregation and neurological processes. We carried out a novel bioinformatics screen for other possible dual-frame translated sequences, based on comparative genomics. Our method searched human, mouse and rat transcripts in frames +1 and -1 for ORFs which are unusually well conserved at the amino acid level. We name these conserved frameshifted overlapping ORFs 'matreshkas' to reflect their nested character. Select findings of our analysis revealed that the G-protein coupled receptor GPR27 is entirely contained within a frame -1 matreshka, thrombopoietin contains a matreshka which spans ~70% of its length, platelet glycoprotein IIIa (ITGB3) contains a matreshka with the predicted characteristics of a secreted peptide hormone, while the potassium channel KCNK12 contains a matreshka spanning >400 amino acids. Although the in vivo existence of translated matreshkas has not been experimentally verified, this genome-wide analysis provides strong evidence that substantial overlapping coding sequences exist in a number of human and rodent transcripts.
    BMC Genomics 01/2008; 9:122. · 4.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors are widely expressed in the central nervous system where they are thought to regulate glia cell function. The phosphorylated version of fingolimod/FTY720 (FTY720P) is active on a broad spectrum of S1P receptors and the parent compound is currently in phase III clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Here, we aimed to identify which cell type(s) and S1P receptor(s) of the central nervous system are targeted by FTY720P. Using calcium imaging in mixed cultures from embryonic rat cortex we show that astrocytes are the major cell type responsive to FTY720P in this assay. In enriched astrocyte cultures, we detect expression of S1P1 and S1P3 receptors and demonstrate that FTY720P activates Gi protein-mediated signaling cascades. We also show that FTY720P as well as the S1P1-selective agonist SEW2871 stimulate astrocyte migration. The data indicate that FTY720P exerts its effects on astrocytes predominantly via the activation of S1P1 receptors, whereas S1P signals through both S1P1 and S1P3 receptors. We suggest that this distinct pharmacological profile of FTY720P, compared with S1P, could play a role in the therapeutic effects of FTY720 in multiple sclerosis.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 09/2007; 102(4):1151-61. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Dietmar Dirnberger, Klaus Seuwen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Frizzled receptors have seven membrane-spanning helices and are considered as atypical G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The mating response of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is mediated by a GPCR signaling system and this model organism has been used extensively in the past to study mammalian GPCR function. We show here that human Frizzled receptors (Fz1 and Fz2) can be properly targeted to the yeast plasma membrane, and that they stimulate the yeast mating pathway in the absence of added Wnt ligands, as evidenced by cell cycle arrest in G1 and reporter gene expression dependent on the mating pathway-activated FUS1 gene. Introducing intracellular portions of Frizzled receptors into the Ste2p backbone resulted in the generation of constitutively active receptor chimeras that retained mating factor responsiveness. Introducing intracellular portions of Ste2p into the Frizzled receptor backbone was found to strongly enhance mating pathway activation as compared to the native Frizzleds, likely by facilitating interaction with the yeast Galpha protein Gpa1p. Furthermore, we show reversibility of the highly penetrant G1-phase arrests exerted by the receptor chimeras by deletion of the mating pathway effector FAR1. Our data demonstrate that Frizzled receptors can functionally replace mating factor receptors in yeast and offer an experimental system to study modulators of Frizzled receptors.
    PLoS ONE 02/2007; 2(9):e954. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • ChemInform 10/2006; 37(42).

Publication Stats

2k Citations
257.02 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2014
    • Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997–2011
    • Novartis
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 2007
    • ETH Zurich
      • Institute for Operations Research
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland