Discovery of a CXCR4 agonist pepducin that mobilizes bone marrow hematopoietic cells.
ABSTRACT: The G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), chemokine CXC-type receptor 4 (CXCR4), and its ligand, CXCL12, mediate the retention of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in the bone marrow. Agents that disrupt CXCL12-mediated chemoattraction of CXCR4-expressing cells mobilize PMNs and HSPCs into the peripheral circulation and are therapeutically useful for HSPC collection before autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT). Our aim was to develop unique CXCR4-targeted therapeutics using lipopeptide GPCR modulators called pepducins. A pepducin is a synthetic molecule composed of a peptide derived from the amino acid sequence of one of the intracellular (IC) loops of a target GPCR coupled to a lipid tether. We prepared and screened a small CXCR4-targeted pepducin library and identified several pepducins with in vitro agonist activity, including ATI-2341, whose peptide sequence derives from the first IC loop. ATI-2341 induced CXCR4- and G protein-dependent signaling, receptor internalization, and chemotaxis in CXCR4-expressing cells. It also induced dose-dependent peritoneal recruitment of PMNs when administered i.p. to mice. However, when administered systemically by i.v. bolus, ATI-2341 acted as a functional antagonist and dose-dependently mediated release of PMNs from the bone marrow of both mice and cynomolgus monkeys. ATI-2341-mediated release of granulocyte/macrophage progenitor cells from the bone marrow was confirmed by colony-forming assays. We conclude that ATI-2341 is a potent and efficacious mobilizer of bone marrow PMNs and HSPCs and could represent a previously undescribed therapeutic approach for the recruitment of HSPCs before ABMT.
Project description:Short lipidated peptide sequences derived from various intracellular loop regions of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are named pepducins and act as allosteric modulators of a number of GPCRs. Recently, a pepducin selectively targeting the C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) was found to be an allosteric agonist, active in both cell-based assays and in vivo. However, the precise mechanism of action of this class of ligands remains poorly understood. In particular, given the diversity of signaling effectors that can be engaged by a given receptor, it is not clear whether pepducins can show biased signaling leading to functional selectivity. To explore the ligand-biased potential of pepducins, we assessed the effect of the CXCR4 selective pepducin, ATI-2341, on the ability of the receptor to engage the inhibitory G proteins (Gi1, Gi2 and Gi3), G13, and ?-arrestins. Using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based biosensors, we found that, in contrast to the natural CXCR4 ligand, stromal cell-derived factor-1?, which promotes the engagement of the three Gi subtypes, G13 and the two ?-arrestins, ATI-2341 leads to the engagement of the Gi subtypes but not G13 or the ?-arrestins. Calculation of the transduction ratio for each pathway revealed a strong negative bias of ATI-2341 toward G13 and ?-arrestins, revealing functional selectivity for the Gi pathways. The negative bias toward ?-arrestins results from the reduced ability of the pepducin to promote GPCR kinase-mediated phosphorylation of the receptor. In addition to revealing ligand-biased signaling of pepducins, these findings shed some light on the mechanism of action of a unique class of allosteric regulators.
Project description:The data described here is related to the research article titled (Gabl et al., 2016) . Pepducins with peptide sequence derived from one of the intracellular domains of a given G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) can either activate or inhibit cell functions. Here we include data on human neutrophil function induced by pepducins derived from ?2AR (ICL3-8) and CXCR4 (ATI-2341), respectively. ICL3-8 exerts neither direct activating effect on the NADPH-oxidase as measured by superoxide release nor inhibitory effect on FPR signaling. ATI-2341 dose-dependently triggers neutrophil activation and these cells were subsequently desensitized in their response to FPR2 specific agonists F2Pal10 and WKYMVM. Moreover, the ATI-2341 response is inhibited by PBP10 and the peptidomimetic Pam-(Lys-betaNSpe)6-NH2 (both are FPR2 specific inhibitors), but not to the FPR1 specific inhibitor cyclosporine H.
Project description:The chemokine receptor CXCR4, which normally regulates stromal stem cell interactions in the bone marrow, is highly expressed on a variety of malignant hematologic cells, including lymphoma and lymphocytic leukemias. A new treatment concept has arisen wherein CXCR4 may be an effective therapeutic target as an adjunct to treatment of hematologic neoplasms with chemo- and immunotherapy. In the present study, we developed pepducins, cell-penetrating lipopeptide antagonists of CXCR4, to interdict CXCL12-CXCR4 transmembrane signaling to intracellular G-proteins. We demonstrate that pepducins targeting the first (i1) or third (i3) intracellular loops of CXCR4 completely abrogate CXCL12-mediated cell migration of lymphocytic leukemias and lymphomas. Stromal-cell coculture protects lymphoma cells from apoptosis in response to treatment with the CD20-targeted Ab rituximab. However, combination treatment with CXCR4 pepducins and rituximab significantly increases the apoptotic effect of rituximab. Furthermore, treatment of mice bearing disseminated lymphoma xenografts with pepducins alone or in combination with rituximab significantly increased their survival. These data demonstrate that CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling can be effectively inhibited by cell-penetrating pepducins, which represents a potential new treatment strategy for lymphoid malignancies.
Project description:A pepducin is a lipopeptide containing a peptide sequence that is identical to one of the intracellular domains of the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) assumed to be the target. Neutrophils express two closely related formyl peptide receptors belonging to the family of GPCRs; FPR1 and FPR2 in human and their respective orthologue Fpr1 and Fpr2 in mouse. By applying the pepducin concept, we have earlier identified FPR2 activating pepducins generated from the third intracellular loop of FPR2. The third intracellular loop of FPR2 differs in two amino acids from that of FPR1, seven from Fpr2 and three from Fpr1. Despite this, we found that pepducins generated from FPR1, FPR2, Fpr1 and Fpr2 all targeted FPR2 in human neutrophils and Fpr2 in mouse, but with different modulating outcomes. Whereas the FPR1/Fpr1 derived pepducins inhibited the FPR2 function in human neutrophils, they activated Fpr2 in mouse. The FPR2 derived pepducin activated FPR2/Fpr2, whereas the pepducin generated from Fpr2 inhibited both FPR2 and Fpr2. In summary, our data demonstrate that pepducins generated from the third intracellular loop of human FPR1/2 and mouse Fpr1/2, all targeted FPR2 in human and Fpr2 in mouse. With respect to the modulating outcomes, pepducin inhibitors identified for FPR2 are in fact activators for Fpr2 in mouse neutrophils. Our data thus questions the validity of pepducin concept regarding their receptor selectivity but supports the notion that FPR2/Fpr2 may recognize a lipopeptide molecular pattern, and highlight the differences in ligand recognition profile between FPR2 and its mouse orthologue Fpr2.
Project description:During bacterial infection, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) differentiate into polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) in the bone marrow. We reported that HSPCs recruited to Staphylococcus aureus-infected skin wounds in mice undergo granulopoiesis, whereas other authors have demonstrated their differentiation in vitro after Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)/MyD88 stimulation. Here, we examined this pathway in HSPC trafficking and granulopoiesis within S aureus-infected wounds. Lineage- HSPCs from TLR2- or MyD88-deficient mice injected into infected wounds of wild-type (WT) mice exhibited impaired granulopoiesis. However, HSPCs from WT mice produced similar numbers of PMNs whether transferred into wounds of TLR2-, MyD88-deficient, or WT mice. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which stimulates HSPC survival and proliferation, was produced by HSPCs after TLR2 stimulation, suggesting that TLR2/MyD88 activation promotes granulopoiesis in part by production and autocrine activity of PGE2. Pretreatment of TLR2- or MyD88-deficient HSPCs with PGE2 rescued granulocytic differentiation in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that bone marrow-derived lin-/Sca-1+/c-kit+ cells produced PGE2 and underwent granulopoiesis after TLR2 stimulation. lin-/Sca-1+/c-kit+ cells deficient in TLR2 or MyD88 produced PMNs after PGE2 treatment when transferred into uninfected wounds. We conclude that granulopoiesis in S aureus-infected wounds is induced by TLR2/MyD88 activation of HSPCs through a mechanism that involves autocrine production and activity of PGE2.
Project description:G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large family of remarkably versatile membrane proteins that are attractive therapeutic targets because of their involvement in a vast range of normal physiological processes and pathological diseases. Upon activation, intracellular domains of GPCRs mediate signaling to G-proteins, but these domains have yet to be effectively exploited as drug targets. Cell-penetrating lipidated peptides called pepducins target specific intracellular loops of GPCRs and have recently emerged as effective allosteric modulators of GPCR activity. The lipid moiety facilitates translocation across the plasma membrane, where pepducins then specifically modulate signaling of their cognate receptor. To date, pepducins and related lipopeptides have been shown to specifically modulate the activity of diverse GPCRs and other membrane proteins, including protease-activated receptors (PAR1, PAR2, and PAR4), chemokine receptors (CXCR1, CXCR2, and CXCR4), sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor-3 (S1P3), the melanocortin-4 receptor, the Smoothened receptor, formyl peptide receptor-2 (FPR2), the relaxin receptor (LGR7), G-proteins (G?(q/11/o/13)), muscarinic acetylcholine receptor and vanilloid (TRPV1) channels, and the GPIIb integrin. This minireview describes recent advances made using pepducin technology in targeting diverse GPCRs and the use of pepducins in identifying potential novel drug targets.
Project description:Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2), a cell surface receptor for trypsin-like proteases, plays a key role in a number of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints, lungs, brain, gastrointestinal tract, and vascular systems. Despite considerable effort by the pharmaceutical industry, PAR2 has proven recalcitrant to targeting by small molecule inhibitors, which have been unable to effectively prevent the interaction of the protease-generated tethered ligand with the body of the receptor. Here, we report the development of first-in-class cell-penetrating lipopeptide "pepducin" antagonists of PAR2. The design of the third intracellular (i3) loop pepducins were based on a structural model of a PAR2 dimer and by mutating key pharmacophores in the receptor intracellular loops and analogous pepducins. Individual pharmacophores were identified, which controlled constitutive, agonist, and antagonist activities. This approach culminated in the identification of the P2pal-18S pepducin which completely suppressed trypsin and mast cell tryptase signaling through PAR2 in neutrophils and colon cancer cells. The PAR2 pepducin was highly efficacious in blocking PAR2-dependent inflammatory responses in mouse models. These effects were lost in PAR2-deficient and mast-cell-deficient mice, thereby validating the specificity of the pepducin in vivo. These data provide proof of concept that PAR2 pepducin antagonists may afford effective treatments of potentially debilitating inflammatory diseases and serve as a blueprint for developing highly potent and specific i3-loop-based pepducins for other G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).
Project description:The ?-chemokine stromal-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), which binds to the CXCR4 receptor, directs migration and homing of CXCR4+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) to bone marrow (BM) stem cell niches. Nevertheless, it is also known that CXCR4-/- fetal liver-derived hematopoietic stem cells engraft into BM and that blockade of CXCR4 by its antagonist AMD3100 does not prevent engraftment of HSPCs. Because of this finding of SDF-1-CXCR4-independent BM homing, the unique role of SDF-1 in HSPC homing has recently been challenged. While SDF-1 is the only chemokine that chemoattracts HSPCs, other chemoattractants for these cells have recently been described, including the bioactive phosphosphingolipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). To address the potential role of S1P in homing of HSPCs to BM, we performed hematopoietic transplants into mice deficient in BM-expressed sphingosine kinase 1 (Sphk1-/-) using hematopoietic cells from normal control mice as well as cells from mice in which floxed CXCR4 (CXCR4fl/fl) was conditionally deleted. We observed the presence of a homing and engraftment defect in HSPCs of Sphk1-/- mice that was particularly profound after transplantation of CXCR4-/- BM cells. Thus, our results indicate that BM-microenvironment-expressed S1P plays a role in homing of HSPCs. They also support the concept that, in addition to the SDF-1-CXCR4 axis, other chemotactic axes are also involved in homing and engraftment of HSPCs.
Project description:Homing and engraftment, a determining factor in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation success is defined as a process through which hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) lodge recipient bone marrow. SDF-1/CXCR4 axis acts as a principle regulator in homing and engraftment, however, CXCR4 signaling is dependent upon expression of CXCR4 and its ligand SDF-1, which is highly dynamic. Hence, present investigation was aimed to explore the potential of CXCR4 constitutive active mutants (CXCR4-CAMs) in overcoming the limitation of CXCR4 signaling and up-modulate its efficiency in homing and engraftment. Regulated transgene expression study of these mutants revealed their significantly enhanced cell adhesion efficiency to endothelium and extracellular matrix protein. This altogether indicates promising prospects of CXCR4-CAMs in research aimed to improve HSPCs engraftment efficiency.
Project description:Current evidence suggests that hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is mediated by induction of bone marrow proteases, attenuation of adhesion molecule function, and disruption of CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling in the bone marrow. The relative importance and extent to which these pathways overlap or function independently are uncertain. Despite evidence of protease activation in the bone marrow, HSPC mobilization by G-CSF or the chemokine Grobeta was abrogated in CXCR4(-/-) bone marrow chimeras. In contrast, HSPC mobilization by a VLA-4 antagonist was intact. To determine whether other mobilizing cytokines disrupt CXCR4 signaling, we characterized CXCR4 and CXCL12 expression after HSPC mobilization with Flt3 ligand (Flt3L) and stem cell factor (SCF). Indeed, treatment with Flt3L or SCF resulted in a marked decrease in CXCL12 expression in the bone marrow and a loss of surface expression of CXCR4 on HSPCs. RNA in situ and sorting experiments suggested that the decreased CXCL12 expression is secondary to a loss of osteoblast lineage cells. Collectively, these data suggest that disruption of CXCR4 signaling and attenuation of VLA-4 function are independent mechanisms of mobilization by G-CSF. Loss of CXCL12 expression by osteoblast appears to be a common and key step in cytokine-induced mobilization.