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Stimulation of the cortical muscarinic M1 receptor (CHRM1) is proposed as a treatment for schizophrenia, a hypothesis testable using CHRM1 allosteric modulators. Allosteric modulators have been shown to change the activity of CHRMs using cloned human CHRMs and CHRM knockout mice but not human CNS, a prerequisite for them working in humans. Here we show in vitro that BQCA, a positive allosteric CHRM1 modulator, brings about the expected change in affinity of the CHRM1 orthosteric site for acetylcholine in human cortex. Moreover, this effect of BQCA is reduced in the cortex of a subset of subjects with schizophrenia, separated into a discrete population because of a profound loss of cortical [(3)H]pirenzepine binding. Surprisingly, there was no change in [(3)H]NMS binding to the cortex from this subset or those with schizophrenia but without a marked loss of cortical CHRM1. Hence, we explored the nature of [(3)H]pirenzepine and [(3)H]NMS binding to human cortex and showed total [(3)H]pirenzepine and [(3)H]NMS binding was reduced by Zn(2+), acetylcholine displacement of [(3)H]NMS binding was enhanced by Mg(2+) and Zn(2+), acetylcholine displacement of [(3)H]pirenzepine was reduced by Mg(2+) and enhanced by Zn(2+), whereas BQCA effects on [(3)H]NMS, but not [(3)H]pirenzepine, binding was enhanced by Mg(2+) and Zn(2+). These data suggest the orthosteric and allosteric sites on CHRMs respond differently to divalent cations and the effects of allosteric modulation of the cortical CHRM1 is reduced in a subset of people with schizophrenia, a finding that may have ramifications for the use of CHRM1 allosteric modulators in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Based on the identification of residues that determine receptor selectivity in arrestins and the phylogenetic analysis of the arrestin (arr) family, we introduced fifteen mutations of receptor-discriminator residues in arr-3, which were identified previously using mutagenesis, in vitro binding, and BRET-based recruitment assay in intact cells. The effects of these mutations were tested using neuropeptide Y receptors Y1R and Y2R. NPY-elicited arr-3 recruitment to Y1R was not affected by these mutations, or even alanine substitution of all ten residues (arr-3-NCA), which prevented arr-3 binding to other receptors tested so far. However, NCA and two other mutations prevented agonist-independent arr-3 pre-docking to Y1R. In contrast, eight out of 15 mutations significantly reduced agonist-dependent arr-3 recruitment to Y2R. NCA eliminated arr-3 binding to active Y2R, whereas Tyr239Thr reduced it ~7-fold. Thus, manipulation of key residues on the receptor-binding surface generates arr-3 with high preference for Y1R over Y2R. Several mutations differentially affect arr-3 pre-docking and agonist-induced recruitment. Thus, arr-3 recruitment to the receptor involves several mechanistically distinct steps. Targeted mutagenesis can fine-tune arrestins directing them to specific receptors and particular activation states of the same receptor.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The central amygdala (CeA) is a key structure at the limbic-motor interface regulating stress responses and emotional learning. Endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling is heavily implicated in the regulation of stress-response physiology and emotional learning processes; however, the role of eCBs in the modulation of synaptic efficacy in the CeA is not well understood. Here we describe the subcellular localization of CB1 cannabinoid receptors and eCB synthetic machinery at glutamatergic synapses in the CeA and find that CeA neurons exhibit multiple mechanistically and temporally distinct modes of postsynaptic eCB mobilization. These data identify a prominent role for eCBs in the modulation of excitatory drive to CeA neurons and provide insight into the mechanisms by which eCB signaling and exogenous cannabinoids could regulate stress responses and emotional learning.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This Letter describes the further chemical optimization of the M5 PAM MLPCN probes ML129 and ML172. A multi-dimensional iterative parallel synthesis effort quickly explored isatin replacements and a number of southern heterobiaryl variations with no improvement over ML129 and ML172. An HTS campaign identified several weak M5 PAMs (M5 EC50 >10μM) with a structurally related isatin core that possessed a southern phenethyl ether linkage. While SAR within the HTS series was very shallow and unable to be optimized, grafting the phenethyl ether linkage onto the ML129/ML172 cores led to the first sub-micromolar M5 PAM, ML326 (VU0467903), (human and rat M5 EC50s of 409nM and 500nM, respectively) with excellent mAChR selectivity (M1-M4 EC50s >30μM) and a robust 20-fold leftward shift of the ACh CRC.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Currently available therapeutic agents for treatment of schizophrenia target signaling by monoaminergic neurotransmitters; however, these treatments do not adequately treat the range of symptoms observed in patients. While these therapies treat the positive symptoms, they do not have efficacy in treating the negative symptoms and cognitive deficits that are associated with the disease. Evidence suggests that molecules that modulate signaling by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) could provide a more comprehensive treatment of schizophrenia than currently prescribed antipsychotics. Molecules that broadly increase ACh-signaling have been demonstrated to have efficacy in treating numerous symptom clusters in schizophrenia patients. Unfortunately, these compounds induce adverse effects via activation of peripheral receptors that limit their clinical utility. One proposed strategy for retaining the efficacy of cholinergic treatments, without the adverse effects, is to target specific cholinergic receptor subtypes in the brain. Several cholinergic receptors are able to modulate brain circuits that are dysregulated in schizophrenia patients including receptors belonging to both the muscarinic family (i.e., M1, M4, and M5), and the nicotinic family (i.e., α7, α4β2). Recently, great strides have been made in developing small molecules with high specificity for these receptors, and several of these novel molecules have robust efficacy in several preclinical models predictive of both anti-psychotic and pro-cognitive effectiveness. Promising studies suggest that targeting M1 and α7 may be beneficial for pro-cognitive effects, while molecules that target M4 may be ideally suited to address the positive symptoms. Since these receptor subtypes are distinct from those responsible for the adverse effects observed with non-selective cholinergic treatments, there is hope that molecules targeting these receptors could provide novel therapeutics. Further research is needed to examine the utility of such compounds as therapeutics that could be used either alone, or in combination with existing medications, to better treat schizophrenia.
This letter describes the further exploration of two series of M(1) allosteric agonists, TBPB and VU0357017, previously reported from our lab. Within the TPBP scaffold, either electronic or steric perturbations to the central piperidine ring led to a loss of selective M(1) allosteric agonism and afforded pan-mAChR antagonism, which was demonstrated to be mediated via the orthosteric site. Additional SAR around a related M(1) allosteric agonist family (VU0357017) identified similar, subtle 'molecular switches' that modulated modes of pharmacology from allosteric agonism to pan-mAChR orthosteric antagonism. Therefore, all of these ligands are best classified as bi-topic ligands that possess high affinity binding at an allosteric site to engender selective M(1) activation, but all bind, at higher concentrations, to the orthosteric ACh site, leading to non-selective orthosteric site binding and mAChR antagonism.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This Letter describes the continued optimization of the MLPCN probe molecule ML071. After introducing numerous cyclic constraints and novel substitutions throughout the parent structure, we produced a number of more highly potent agonists of the M(1) mACh receptor. While many novel agonists demonstrated a promising ability to increase soluble APPα release, further characterization indicated they may be functioning as bitopic agonists. These results and the implications of a bitopic mode of action are presented.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The muscarinic cholinergic system constitutes an important part of the neuronal circuitry that modulates normal cognition. Muscarinic receptor antagonists are well known to produce or exacerbate impairments in attention, learning, and memory. Conversely, both direct-acting muscarinic receptor agonists and indirect-acting muscarinic cholinergic agonists, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, have shown cognition-enhancing properties, including improvements in normal cognitive function, reversal of cognitive deficits induced by muscarinic receptor antagonists, and attenuation of cognitive deficits in psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. However, until recently, the lack of small molecule ligands that antagonize or activate specific muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) subtypes with high selectivity has been a major obstacle in defining the relative contributions of individual mAChRs to different aspects of cognitive function and for the development of novel therapeutic agents. These limitations may be potentially overcome by the recent discovery of novel mAChR subtype-selective compounds, notably allosteric agonists and positive allosteric modulators, which exhibit greater selectivity for individual mAChR subtypes than previous mAChR orthosteric agonists. In preclinical studies, these novel ligands have shown promising efficacy in several models for the enhancement of cognition. In this chapter, we will review the muscarinic cholinergic circuitry and pharmacology of mAChR agonists and antagonists relevant to the modulation of different aspects of cognition in animals and clinical populations.
Although early clinical observations implicated dopamine dysfunction in the neuropathology of schizophrenia, accumulating evidence suggests that multiple neurotransmitter pathways are dysregulated. The psychotomimetic actions of NMDA receptor antagonists point to an imbalance of glutamatergic signaling. Encouragingly, numerous preclinical and clinical studies have elucidated several potential targets for increasing NMDA receptor function and equilibrating glutamatergic tone, including the metabotropic glutamate receptors 2, 3 and 5, the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors M(1) and M(4), and the glycine transporter GlyT1. Highly specific allosteric and orthosteric ligands have been developed that modify the activity of these novel target proteins, and in this review we summarize both the glutamatergic mechanisms and the novel compounds that are increasing the promise for a multifaceted pharmacological approach to treat schizophrenia.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.