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Neuropeptide Y (NPY) receptors belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and have important roles in food intake, anxiety and cancer biology . The NPY-Y receptor system has emerged as one of the most complex networks with three peptide ligands (NPY, peptide YY and pancreatic polypeptide) binding to four receptors in most mammals, namely the Y, Y, Y and Y receptors, with different affinity and selectivity . NPY is the most powerful stimulant of food intake and this effect is primarily mediated by the Y receptor (YR) . A number of peptides and small-molecule compounds have been characterized as YR antagonists and have shown clinical potential in the treatment of obesity , tumour and bone loss . However, their clinical usage has been hampered by low potency and selectivity, poor brain penetration ability or lack of oral bioavailability . Here we report crystal structures of the human YR bound to the two selective antagonists UR-MK299 and BMS-193885 at 2.7 and 3.0 Å resolution, respectively. The structures combined with mutagenesis studies reveal the binding modes of YR to several structurally diverse antagonists and the determinants of ligand selectivity. The YR structure and molecular docking of the endogenous agonist NPY, together with nuclear magnetic resonance, photo-crosslinking and functional studies, provide insights into the binding behaviour of the agonist and for the first time, to our knowledge, determine the interaction of its N terminus with the receptor. These insights into YR can enable structure-based drug discovery that targets NPY receptors.
The poor norepinephrine innervation and high density of Gi/o-coupled α- and α-adrenoceptors in the striatum and the dense striatal dopamine innervation have prompted the possibility that dopamine could be an effective adrenoceptor ligand. Nevertheless, the reported adrenoceptor agonistic properties of dopamine are still inconclusive. In this study, we analyzed the binding of norepinephrine, dopamine, and several compounds reported as selective dopamine D-like receptor ligands, such as the D receptor agonist 7-OH-PIPAT and the D receptor agonist RO-105824, to α-adrenoceptors in cortical and striatal tissue, which express α-adrenoceptors and both α- and α-adrenoceptors, respectively. The affinity of dopamine for α-adrenoceptors was found to be similar to that for D-like and D-like receptors. Moreover, the exogenous dopamine receptor ligands also showed high affinity for α- and α-adrenoceptors. Their ability to activate Gi/o proteins through α- and α-adrenoceptors was also analyzed in transfected cells with bioluminescent resonance energy transfer techniques. The relative ligand potencies and efficacies were dependent on the Gi/o protein subtype. Furthermore, dopamine binding to α-adrenoceptors was functional, inducing changes in dynamic mass redistribution, adenylyl cyclase activity, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Binding events were further studied with computer modeling of ligand docking. Docking of dopamine at α- and α-adrenoceptors was nearly identical to its binding to the crystallized D receptor. Therefore, we provide conclusive evidence that α- and α-adrenoceptors are functional receptors for norepinephrine, dopamine, and other previously assumed selective D-like receptor ligands, which calls for revisiting previous studies with those ligands.
Allosteric modulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu) has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical rodent models of several brain disorders, leading to industry and academic drug discovery efforts. Although the pharmacology and binding sites of some mGlu allosteric modulators have been characterized previously, questions remain about the nature of the allosteric mechanism of cooperativity with glutamate and whether structurally diverse allosteric modulators bind in an identical manner to specific allosteric sites. To further investigate the in vitro pharmacology of mGlu allosteric modulators, we developed and characterized a novel mGlu positive allosteric modulator (PAM) radioligand in parallel with functional studies of a structurally diverse set of mGlu PAMs and negative allosteric modulators (NAMs). Using an operational model of allosterism to analyze the functional data, we found that PAMs affect both the affinity and efficacy of glutamate at mGlu, whereas NAMs predominantly affect the efficacy of glutamate in our assay system. More importantly, we found that binding of a novel mGlu PAM radioligand was inhibited by multiple structurally diverse PAMs and NAMs, indicating that they may bind to the mGlu allosteric site labeled with the novel mGlu PAM radioligand; however, further studies suggested that these allosteric modulators do not all interact with the radioligand in an identical manner. Together, these findings provide new insights into the binding sites and modes of efficacy of different structurally and functionally distinct mGlu allosteric modulators and suggest that different ligands either interact with distinct sites or adapt different binding poses to shared allosteric site(s).
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations cause Wnt pathway activation in human cancers. Current models for APC action emphasize its role in promoting β-catenin degradation downstream of Wnt receptors. Unexpectedly, we find that blocking Wnt receptor activity in APC-deficient cells inhibits Wnt signaling independently of Wnt ligand. We also show that inducible loss of APC is rapidly followed by Wnt receptor activation and increased β-catenin levels. In contrast, APC2 loss does not promote receptor activation. We show that APC exists in a complex with clathrin and that Wnt pathway activation in APC-deficient cells requires clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Finally, we demonstrate conservation of this mechanism in Drosophila intestinal stem cells. We propose a model in which APC and APC2 function to promote β-catenin degradation, and APC also acts as a molecular "gatekeeper" to block receptor activation via the clathrin pathway.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) play an important role in a variety of cellular processes including growth, motility, differentiation, and metabolism. As such, dysregulation of RTK signaling leads to an assortment of human diseases, most notably, cancers. Recent large-scale genomic studies have revealed the presence of various alterations in the genes encoding RTKs such as EGFR, HER2/ErbB2, and MET, amongst many others. Abnormal RTK activation in human cancers is mediated by four principal mechanisms: gain-of-function mutations, genomic amplification, chromosomal rearrangements, and / or autocrine activation. In this manuscript, we review the processes whereby RTKs are activated under normal physiological conditions and discuss several mechanisms whereby RTKs can be aberrantly activated in human cancers. Understanding of these mechanisms has important implications for selection of anti-cancer therapies.
Integrins are transmembrane cell-extracellular matrix adhesion receptors that impact many cellular functions. A subgroup of integrins contain an inserted (I) domain within the α-subunits (αI) that mediate ligand recognition where function is contingent on binding a divalent cation at the metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS). Ca is reported to promote α1I but inhibit α2I ligand binding. We co-crystallized individual I-domains with MIDAS-bound Ca and report structures at 1.4 and 2.15 Å resolution, respectively. Both structures are in the "closed" ligand binding conformation where Ca induces minimal global structural changes. Comparisons with Mg-bound structures reveal Mg and Ca bind α1I in a manner sufficient to promote ligand binding. In contrast, Ca is displaced in the α2I domain MIDAS by 1.4 Å relative to Mg and unable to directly coordinate all MIDAS residues. We identified an E152-R192 salt bridge hypothesized to limit the flexibility of the α2I MIDAS, thus, reducing Ca binding. A α2I E152A construct resulted in a 10,000-fold increase in Mg and Ca binding affinity while increasing binding to collagen ligands 20%. These data indicate the E152-R192 salt bridge is a key distinction in the molecular mechanism of differential ion binding of these two I domains.
Stem cells reside in a niche, a local environment whose cellular and molecular complexity is still being elucidated. In ovaries, germline stem cells depend on cap cells for self-renewing signals and physical attachment. Germline stem cells also contact the anterior escort cells, and here we report that anterior escort cells are absolutely required for germline stem cell maintenance. When escort cells die from impaired Wnt signaling or expression, the loss of anterior escort cells causes loss of germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells function as an integral niche component by promoting DE-cadherin anchorage and by transiently expressing the Dpp ligand to promote full-strength BMP signaling in germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells are maintained by Wnt6 ligands produced by cap cells; without Wnt6 signaling, anterior escort cells die leaving vacancies in the niche, leading to loss of germline stem cells. Our data identify anterior escort cells as constituents of the germline stem cell niche, maintained by a cap cell-produced Wnt6 survival signal.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the most important signal transducers in higher eukaryotes. Despite considerable progress, the molecular basis of subtype-specific ligand selectivity, especially for peptide receptors, remains unknown. Here, by integrating DNP-enhanced solid-state NMR spectroscopy with advanced molecular modeling and docking, the mechanism of the subtype selectivity of human bradykinin receptors for their peptide agonists has been resolved. The conserved middle segments of the bound peptides show distinct conformations that result in different presentations of their N and C termini toward their receptors. Analysis of the peptide-receptor interfaces reveals that the charged N-terminal residues of the peptides are mainly selected through electrostatic interactions, whereas the C-terminal segments are recognized via both conformations and interactions. The detailed molecular picture obtained by this approach opens a new gateway for exploring the complex conformational and chemical space of peptides and peptide analogs for designing GPCR subtype-selective biochemical tools and drugs.
Incorporating experimental restraints is a powerful method of increasing accuracy in computational protein small molecule docking simulations. Different algorithms integrate distinct forms of biochemical data during the docking and/or scoring stages. These so-called hybrid methods make use of receptor-based information such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) restraints or small molecule-based information such as structure-activity relationships (SARs). A third class of methods directly interrogates contacts between the protein receptor and the small molecule. This work reviews the current state of using such restraints in docking simulations, evaluates their feasibility across broad systems, and identifies potential areas of algorithm development.
Drug candidates are generally discovered using biochemical screens employing an isolated target protein or by utilizing cell-based phenotypic assays. Both noncovalent and covalent hits emerge from such endeavors. Herein, we exemplify an "Inverse Drug Discovery" strategy in which organic compounds of intermediate complexity harboring weak, but activatable, electrophiles are matched with the protein(s) they react with in cells or cell lysate. An alkyne substructure in each candidate small molecule enables affinity chromatography-mass spectrometry, which produces a list of proteins that each distinct compound reacts with. A notable feature of this approach is that it is agnostic with respect to the cellular proteins targeted. To illustrate this strategy, we employed aryl fluorosulfates, an underexplored class of sulfur(VI) halides, that are generally unreactive unless activated by protein binding. Reversible aryl fluorosulfate binding, correct juxtaposition of protein side chain functional groups, and transition-state stabilization of the S(VI) exchange reaction all seem to be critical for conjugate formation. The aryl fluorosulfates studied thus far exhibit chemoselective reactivity toward Lys and, particularly, Tyr side chains, and can be used to target nonenzymes (e.g., a hormone carrier or a small-molecule carrier protein) as well as enzymes. The "Inverse Drug Discovery" strategy should be particularly attractive as a means to explore latent electrophiles not typically used in medicinal chemistry efforts, until one reacts with a protein target of exceptional interest. Structure-activity data can then be used to enhance the selectivity of conjugate formation or the covalent probe can be used as a competitor to develop noncovalent drug candidates. Here we use the "Inverse Drug Discovery" platform to identify and validate covalent ligands for 11 different human proteins. In the case of one of these proteins, we have identified and validated a small-molecule probe for the first time.