Human platelets display a unique dual receptor system for responding to its primary endogenous activator, α-thrombin. Because of the lack of efficacious antagonists, the field has relied on synthetic peptides and pepducins to describe protease-activated receptor PAR1 and PAR4 signaling. The precise contributions of each receptor have not been established in the context of thrombin. We took advantage of newly discovered PAR antagonists to contrast the contribution of PAR1 and PAR4 to thrombin-mediated activation of the platelet fibrin receptor (GPIIbIIIa). PAR1 is required for platelet activation at low but not high concentrations of thrombin, and maximal platelet activation at high concentrations of thrombin requires PAR4. As the concentration of thrombin is increased, PAR1 signaling is quickly overcome by PAR4 signaling, leaving a narrow window of low thrombin concentrations that exclusively engage PAR1. PAR4 antagonism reduces the maximum thrombin response by over 50%. Thus, although the PAR1 response still active at higher concentrations of thrombin, this response is superseded by PAR4. Truncation of a known PAR4 antagonist and identification of the minimum pharmacophore converted the mechanism of inhibition from noncompetitive to competitive, such that the antagonist could be outcompeted by increasing doses of the ligand. Fragments retained efficacy against both soluble and tethered ligands with lower cLogP values and an increased free fraction in plasma. These reversible, competitive compounds represent a route toward potentially safer PAR4 antagonists for clinical utility and the development of tools such as radioligands and positron emission tomography tracers that are not currently available to the field for this target.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.