Evaluation of computational docking to identify pregnane X receptor agonists in the ToxCast database.
ABSTRACT: The pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a key transcriptional regulator of many genes [e.g., cytochrome P450s (CYP2C9, CYP3A4, CYP2B6), MDR1] involved in xenobiotic metabolism and excretion.As part of an evaluation of different approaches to predict compound affinity for nuclear hormone receptors, we used the molecular docking program GOLD and a hybrid scoring scheme based on similarity weighted GoldScores to predict potential PXR agonists in the ToxCast database of pesticides and other industrial chemicals. We present some of the limitations of different in vitro systems, as well as docking and ligand-based computational models.Each ToxCast compound was docked into the five published crystallographic structures of human PXR (hPXR), and 15 compounds were selected based on their consensus docking scores for testing. In addition, we used a Bayesian model to classify the ToxCast compounds into PXR agonists and nonagonists. hPXR activation was determined by luciferase-based reporter assays in the HepG2 and DPX-2 human liver cell lines.We tested 11 compounds, of which 6 were strong agonists and 2 had weak agonist activity. Docking results of additional compounds were compared with data reported in the literature. The prediction sensitivity of PXR agonists in our sample ToxCast data set (n = 28) using docking and the GoldScore was higher than with the hybrid score at 66.7%. The prediction sensitivity for PXR agonists using GoldScore for the entire ToxCast data set (n = 308) compared with data from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) Chemical Genomics Center data was 73.8%.Docking and the GoldScore may be useful for prioritizing large data sets prior to in vitro testing with good sensitivity across the sample and entire ToxCast data set for hPXR agonists.
Project description:The human pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a transcriptional regulator of many genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism and excretion. Reliable prediction of high affinity binders with this receptor would be valuable for pharmaceutical drug discovery to predict potential toxicological responsesComputational models were developed and validated for a dataset consisting of human PXR (PXR) activators and non-activators. We used support vector machine (SVM) algorithms with molecular descriptors derived from two sources, Shape Signatures and the Molecular Operating Environment (MOE) application software. We also employed the molecular docking program GOLD in which the GoldScore method was supplemented with other scoring functions to improve docking results.The overall test set prediction accuracy for PXR activators with SVM was 72% to 81%. This indicates that molecular shape descriptors are useful in classification of compounds binding to this receptor. The best docking prediction accuracy (61%) was obtained using 1D Shape Signature descriptors as a weighting factor to the GoldScore. By pooling the available human PXR data sets we revealed those molecular features that are associated with human PXR activators.These combined computational approaches using molecular shape information may assist scientists to more confidently identify PXR activators.
Project description:The xenobiotic receptors pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) are activated by structurally diverse chemicals to regulate the expression of target genes, and they have overlapping regulation in terms of ligands and target genes. Receptor-selective agonists are, therefore, critical for studying the overlapping function of PXR and CAR. An early effort identified 6-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazo[2,1-b][1,3]thiazole-5-carbaldehyde-O-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)oxime (CITCO) as a selective human CAR (hCAR) agonist, and this has since been widely used to distinguish the function of hCAR from that of human PXR (hPXR). The selectivity was demonstrated in a green monkey kidney cell line, CV-1, in which CITCO displayed >100-fold selectivity for hCAR over hPXR. However, whether the selectivity observed in CV-1 cells also represented CITCO activity in liver cell models was not hitherto investigated. In this study, we showed that CITCO: 1) binds directly to hPXR; 2) activates hPXR in HepG2 cells, with activation being blocked by an hPXR-specific antagonist, SPA70; 3) does not activate mouse PXR; 4) depends on tryptophan-299 to activate hPXR; 5) recruits steroid receptor coactivator 1 to hPXR; 6) activates hPXR in HepaRG cell lines even when hCAR is knocked out; and 7) activates hPXR in primary human hepatocytes. Together, these data indicate that CITCO binds directly to the hPXR ligand-binding domain to activate hPXR. As CITCO has been widely used, its confirmation as a dual agonist for hCAR and hPXR is important for appropriately interpreting existing data and designing future experiments to understand the regulation of hPXR and hCAR. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The results of this study demonstrate that 6-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazo[2,1-b][1,3]thiazole-5-carbaldehyde-O-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)oxime (CITCO) is a dual agonist for human constitutive androstane receptor (hCAR) and human pregnane X receptor (hPXR). As CITCO has been widely used to activate hCAR, and hPXR and hCAR have distinct and overlapping biological functions, these results highlight the value of receptor-selective agonists and the importance of appropriately interpreting data in the context of receptor selectivity of such agonists.
Project description:Bisphenol A (BPA) is a base chemical used extensively in many consumer products. BPA and its analogues are present in environmental and human samples. Many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including BPA, have been shown to activate the pregnane X receptor (PXR), a nuclear receptor that functions as a master regulator of xenobiotic metabolism. However, the detailed mechanism by which these chemicals activate PXR remains unknown.We investigated the mechanism by which BPA interacts with and activates PXR and examined selected BPA analogues to determine whether they bind to and activate PXR.Cell-based reporter assays, in silico ligand-PXR docking studies, and site-directed mutagenesis were combined to study the interaction between BPA and PXR. We also investigated the influence of BPA and its analogues on the regulation of PXR target genes in human LS180 cells.We found that BPA and several of its analogues are potent agonists for human PXR (hPXR) but do not affect mouse PXR activity. We identified key residues within hPXR's ligand-binding pocket that constitute points of interaction with BPA. We also deduced the structural requirements of BPA analogues that activate hPXR. BPA and its analogues can also induce PXR target gene expression in human LS180 cells.The present study advances our understanding of the mechanism by which BPA interacts with and activates human PXR. Activation of PXR by BPA may explain some of the adverse effects of BPA in humans.
Project description:The pregnane X receptor (PXR) binds xenobiotics and regulates the expression of several drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. Human PXR (hPXR) activation and CYP3A4 induction can be involved in drug-drug interactions, resulting in reduced efficacy or increased toxicity. However, there are known species-specific differences with regard to PXR activation that should be taken into account when animal PXR data are extrapolated to humans. We profiled 2816 clinically used drugs from the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center Pharmaceutical Collection for their ability to activate hPXR and rat PXR (rPXR) at the cellular level, induce human CYP3A4 at the cellular level, and bind human PXR at the protein level. From 6 to 11% of drugs were identified as active across the four assays, which included assay-specific and pan-active compounds. The lowest concordance was observed between the hPXR and rPXR assays, and many compounds active in both assays nonetheless demonstrated significant potency differences between species. Analysis based on clustering potency values demonstrated the greatest activity correlation between the hPXR activation and CYP3A4 induction assays. Structure-activity relationship analysis identified chemical scaffolds that were pan-active (e.g., dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers) and others that were uniquely active in individual assays (e.g., steroids and fatty acids). These results provide important information on PXR activation by clinically used drugs, highlight the species specificity of PXR activation by xenobiotics, and provide a means of prioritizing compounds for follow-up studies and optimization efforts.
Project description:Purification of the apolar extracts of the marine ascidian Phallusia fumigata, afforded two new sulfated sterols, phallusiasterols A (1) and B (2). The structures of the new compounds have been elucidated using mass spectrometry and NMR experiments. The effects of phallusiasterols A and B as modulators of pregnane-X-receptor (PXR) have been investigated. These studies revealed that phallusiasterol A induces PXR transactivation in HepG2 cells and stimulates the expression of the PXR target genes CYP3A4 and MDR1 in the same cell line. Molecular docking calculations suggested the theoretical binding mode of phallusiasterol A with hPXR and revealed that phallusiasterol A fitted well in the LBD of PXR.
Project description:PXR is a xenobiotic receptor that regulates drug metabolism by regulating the expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes including CYP3A4. It can be modulated by chemicals with different structures, functional groups and sizes. X-ray crystal structures of the ligand binding domain of human PXR (hPXR) alone or bound with agonists reveal a highly hydrophobic ligand binding pocket where the aromatic amino acid residue W299 appears to play a critical role in ligand binding. Here, we have investigated the role of W299 on the functional consequence of hPXR ligand binding. We first found that substitution of W299 with a hydrophobic residue retained its response to rifampicin, but substitution with a charged residue altered such agonist response in activating the transcription of CYP3A4. The activity of hPXR mutants on CYP3A4 expression correlates with the ability of hPXR mutants to interact with co-activator SRC-1. We further demonstrated that the effect of replacing W299 by residues with different side chains on hPXR's function varied depending on the specific agonist used. Finally we interpreted the cellular activity of the hPXR mutants by analyzing reported crystallographic data and proposing a model. Our findings reveal the essential role of W299 in the transactivation of hPXR in response to agonist binding, and provide useful information for designing modulators of hPXR.
Project description:Human pregnane X receptor (hPXR) regulates the expression of drug-metabolizing enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) and drug transporters such as multidrug-resistance protein 1 (MDR1). PXR can be modulated by small molecules, including Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, thus altering drug metabolism and causing drug-drug interactions. To determine the role of FDA-approved drugs in PXR-mediated regulation of drug metabolism and clearance, we screened 1481 FDA-approved small-molecule drugs by using a luciferase reporter assay in HEK293T cells and identified the diuretic drug metolazone as an activator of hPXR. Our data showed that metolazone activated hPXR-mediated expression of CYP3A4 and MDR1 in human hepatocytes and intestine cells and increased CYP3A4 promoter activity in various cell lines. Mammalian two-hybrid assays showed that hPXR recruits its co-activator SRC-1 upon metolazone binding in HepG2 cells, explaining the mechanism of hPXR activation. To understand the role of other commonly-used diuretics in hPXR activation and the structure-activity relationship of metolazone, thiazide and non-thiazide diuretics drugs were also tested but only metolazone activates hPXR. To understand the molecular mechanism, docking studies and mutational analysis were carried out and showed that metolazone binds in the ligand-binding pocket and interacts with mostly hydrophobic amino acid residues. This is the first report showing that metolazone activates hPXR. Because activation of hPXR might cause drug-drug interactions, metolazone should be used with caution for drug treatment in patients undergoing combination therapy.
Project description:Nonylphenol (NP), a by-product of alkylphenol ethoxylates, is a pervasive surfactant that activates the xenosensing nuclear receptor, the pregnane X-receptor (PXR) in transactivation assays in vitro. We are interested in determining if NP activates PXR in vivo, determining if hPXR and mPXR act similarly, and investigating the role of PXR in protecting individuals from NP. Wild-type (WT), PXR-null, and humanized PXR (hPXR) mice were treated with NP at 0, 50 or 75mg/kg/day for one week, and cytochrome P450 (CYP) induction, liver histopathology, and serum NP concentrations were examined. WT mice treated with NP showed induction of Cyp2b, and male-specific induction of Cyp2c and Cyp3a. CYPs were not induced in PXR-null mice, demonstrating that PXR is necessary for NP-mediated CYP induction. CAR-mediated CYP induction was not observed in the PXR-null mice despite previous data demonstrating that NP is also a CAR activator. hPXR mice only showed moderate Cyp induction, suggesting that hPXR is not as sensitive to NP as mPXR in vivo. NP-mediated Cyp3a induction from three human hepatocyte donors was not significant, confirming that hPXR is not very sensitive to NP-mediated CYP induction. Lastly, mice with PXR (mPXR and hPXR) showed lower NP serum concentrations than PXR-null mice treated with NP suggesting that PXR plays a role in decreasing liver toxicity by basally regulating phase I-III detoxification enzymes that promote the metabolism and elimination of NP. In summary, PXR is required for NP-mediated CYP-induction, mPXR mediates greater CYP induction than hPXR in vivo, and the presence of PXR, especially mPXR, is associated with altered histopathology and increased clearance of NP.
Project description:In mammals, the pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a transcription factor with a key role in regulating expression of several genes involved in drug biotransformation. PXR is present in fish and some genes known to be under its control can be up-regulated by mammalian PXR ligands. Despite this, direct involvement of PXR in drug biotransformation in fish has yet to be established. Here, the full length PXR sequence was cloned from carp (Cyprinus carpio) and used in a luciferase reporter assay to elucidate its role in xenobiotic metabolism in fish. A reporter assay for human PXR (hPXR) was also established to compare transactivation between human and carp (cPXR) isoforms. Rifampicin activated hPXR as expected, but not cPXR. Conversely, clotrimazole (CTZ) activated both isoforms and was more potent on cPXR, with an EC50 within the range of concentrations of CTZ measured in the aquatic environment. Responses to other azoles tested were similar between both isoforms. A range of pharmaceuticals tested either failed to activate, or were very weakly active, on the cPXR or hPXR. Overall, these results indicate that the cPXR may differ from the hPXR in its responses and/or sensitivity to induction by different environmental chemicals, with implications for risk assessment because of species differences.
Project description:The human pregnane X receptor (hPXR) is activated by a large set of endogenous and exogenous compounds and plays a critical role in the control of detoxifying enzymes and transporters regulating liver and gastrointestinal drug metabolism and clearance. hPXR is also involved in both the development of multidrug resistance and enhanced cancer cells aggressiveness. Moreover, its unintentional activation by pharmaceutical drugs can mediate drug-drug interactions and cause severe adverse events. In that context, the potential of the anticancer BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib suspected to activate hPXR and the human constitutive androstane receptor (hCAR) has not been thoroughly investigated yet. Using different reporter cellular assays, we demonstrate that dabrafenib can activate hPXR as efficiently as its reference agonist SR12813, whereas it does not activate mouse or zebrafish PXR nor hCAR. We also showed that dabrafenib binds to recombinant hPXR, induces the expression of hPXR responsive genes in colon LS174T-hPXR cancer cells and human hepatocytes and finally increases the proliferation in LS174T-hPXR cells. Our study reveals that by using a panel of different cellular techniques it is possible to improve the assessment of hPXR agonist activity for new developed drugs.