Identification of clinically used drugs that activate pregnane X receptors.
ABSTRACT: 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:The cytochrome P-450 monooxygenase 3A4 (CYP3A4) is responsible for the oxidative metabolism of a wide variety of xenobiotics including an estimated 60% of all clinically used drugs. Although expression of the CYP3A4 gene is known to be induced in response to a variety of compounds, the mechanism underlying this induction, which represents a basis for drug interactions in patients, has remained unclear. We report the identification of a human (h) orphan nuclear receptor, termed the pregnane X receptor (PXR), that binds to a response element in the CYP3A4 promoter and is activated by a range of drugs known to induce CYP3A4 expression. Comparison of hPXR with the recently cloned mouse PXR reveals marked differences in their activation by certain drugs, which may account in part for the species-specific effects of compounds on CYP3A gene expression. These findings provide a molecular explanation for the ability of disparate chemicals to induce CYP3A4 levels and, furthermore, provide a basis for developing in vitro assays to aid in predicting whether drugs will interact in humans.
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:Phenobarbital (PB), a broadly used antiseizure drug, was the first to be characterized as an inducer of cytochrome P450 by activation of the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). Although PB is recognized as a conserved CAR activator among species via a well-documented indirect activation mechanism, conflicting results have been reported regarding PB regulation of the pregnane X receptor (PXR), a sister receptor of CAR, and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we show that in a human CAR (hCAR)-knockout (KO) HepaRG cell line, PB significantly induces the expression of CYP2B6 and CYP3A4, two shared target genes of hCAR and human PXR (hPXR). In human primary hepatocytes and hCAR-KO HepaRG cells, PB-induced expression of CYP3A4 was markedly repressed by genetic knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of hPXR. Mechanistically, PB concentration dependently activates hPXR but not its mouse counterpart in cell-based luciferase assays. Mammalian two-hybrid assays demonstrated that PB selectively increases the functional interaction between the steroid receptor coactivator-1 and hPXR but not mouse PXR. Moreover, surface plasmon resonance binding affinity assay showed that PB directly binds to the ligand binding domain of hPXR (KD = 1.42 × 10-05). Structure-activity analysis further revealed that the amino acid tryptophan-299 within the ligand binding pocket of hPXR plays a key role in the agonistic binding of PB and mutation of tryptophan-299 disrupts PB activation of hPXR. Collectively, these data reveal that PB, a selective mouse CAR activator, activates both hCAR and hPXR, and provide novel mechanistic insights for PB-mediated activation of hPXR.
Project description:The pregnane X receptor (PXR) plays crucial roles in multiple physiological processes. However, the signaling mechanisms responsible are not well defined; it is most likely that multiple functions of PXR are modulated by its phosphorylation. Therefore, we sought to determine whether mutation at a highly conserved Thr(57) affects human PXR (hPXR) function. Site-directed mutagenesis was performed to generate phosphorylation-deficient (hPXR(T57A)) and phosphomimetic (hPXR(T57D)) mutants. Gene reporter, Western blotting, immunocytochemistry, mammalian two-hybrid, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays were used to study cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) promoter activation, protein levels, localization, cofactor interaction, and CYP3A4 promoter binding of the hPXR mutants, respectively. hPXR(T57D), but not hPXR(T57A), lost its transcriptional activity. Neither mutation altered hPXR's protein levels and interaction with steroid receptor coactivator-1. hPXR and hPXR(T57A) exhibited a homogenous nuclear distribution, whereas hPXR(T57D) exhibited a distinctive punctate nuclear localization pattern similar to that of hPXR mutants with impaired function that colocalize with silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid receptors (SMRT), although silencing of SMRT did not rescue the altered function of hPXR(T57D). However, hPXR(T57D), but not hPXR(T57A), impaired hPXR's ability to bind to the CYP3A4 promoter, consistent with the mutant's transactivation function. Furthermore, the 70-kDa form of ribosomal protein S6 kinase (p70 S6K) phosphorylated hPXR in vitro and inhibited its transcriptional activity, whereas hPXR(T57A) partially resisted the inhibitory effect of p70 S6K. Our studies identify a functionally significant phosphomimetic mutant (hPXR(T57D)) and show p70 S6K phosphorylation and regulation of hPXR transactivation to support the notion that phosphorylation plays important roles in regulating hPXR function.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) is safe at therapeutic levels but causes hepatotoxicity via N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine-induced oxidative stress upon overdose. To determine the effect of human (h) pregnane X receptor (PXR) activation and CYP3A4 induction on APAP-induced hepatotoxicity, mice humanized for PXR and CYP3A4 (TgCYP3A4/hPXR) were treated with APAP and rifampicin. Human PXR activation and CYP3A4 induction enhanced APAP-induced hepatotoxicity as revealed by hepatic alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities elevated in serum, and hepatic necrosis after coadministration of rifampicin and APAP, compared with APAP administration alone. In contrast, hPXR mice, wild-type mice, and Pxr-null mice exhibited significantly lower ALT/AST levels compared with TgCYP3A4/hPXR mice after APAP administration. Toxicity was coincident with depletion of hepatic glutathione and increased production of hydrogen peroxide, suggesting increased oxidative stress upon hPXR activation. Moreover, mRNA analysis demonstrated that CYP3A4 and other PXR target genes were significantly induced by rifampicin treatment. Urinary metabolomic analysis indicated that cysteine-APAP and its metabolite S-(5-acetylamino-2-hydroxyphenyl)mercaptopyruvic acid were the major contributors to the toxic phenotype. Quantification of plasma APAP metabolites indicated that the APAP dimer formed coincident with increased oxidative stress. In addition, serum metabolomics revealed reduction of lysophosphatidylcholine in the APAP-treated groups. These findings demonstrated that human PXR is involved in regulation of APAP-induced toxicity through CYP3A4-mediated hepatic metabolism of APAP in the presence of PXR ligands.
Project description:Most hepatoma cell lines lack proper expression and induction of CYP3A4 enzyme, which limits their use for predicting drug metabolism and toxicity. Nuclear receptor pregnane X receptor (PXR) has been well recognized for its critical role in regulating expression of CYP3A4 gene. However, its physiological activity of binding to the particular site of promoter is significantly weakened in hepatic cell lines. To address this problem, we created "chimeric PXR" constructs by appending a strong activation domain (AD) from p53 subunit to either N- or C- termini of the human PXR (hPXR), that is, hPXR-p53 and p53-hPXR. C3A, a hepatoma cell line, was used as the cell model to test the regulation effect of chimeric hPXR over wild type (WT) hPXR on CYP3A4 expression at gene, protein, and metabolism levels, respectively. Compared with C3A cells transiently transfected with WT hPXR, the activity of CYP3A4.XREM.luc reporter gene in C3A cells transfected with hPXR-p53 or p53-hPXR increased 5- and 9-fold respectively, and the levels of CYP3A4 mRNA expression increased 3.5- and 2.6-fold, respectively. C3A cells stably transfected with hPXR-p53-AD exhibited an improved expression of CYP3A4 at both gene (2-fold) and protein (1.5-fold) levels compared to WT C3A cells. Testosterone, a CYP3A4-specific substrate, was used for detecting the metabolism activity of CYP3A4. No testosterone metabolite could be detected in microsomes from WT C3A cells and WT C3A cells-based array, while the formation of 6?-hydroxytestosterone metabolite in the transfected cells was 714 and 55 pmol/mg protein/min, respectively. In addition, all the above expression levels in the transfected cell models could be further induced with additional treatment of Rifampicin, a specific inducer for CYP3A4. In conclusion, our study established a proof-of-principle example that genetic modification with chimeric hPXR-p53-AD could improve CYP3A4 metabolism ability in hepatic cell line.
Project description: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:Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a pivotal nuclear receptor modulating xenobiotic metabolism primarily through its regulation of CYP3A4, the most important enzyme involved in drug metabolism in humans. Due to the marked species differences in ligand recognition by PXR, PXR-humanized (hPXR) mice, and mice expressing human PXR and CYP3A4 (Tg3A4/hPXR) were established. hPXR and Tg3A4/hPXR mice are valuable models for investigating the role of PXR in xenobiotic metabolism and toxicity, in lipid, bile acid and steroid hormone homeostasis, and in the control of inflammation.
Project description:Byakangelicin is found in extracts of the root of Angelica dahurica, used in Korea and China as a traditional medicine to treat colds, headache and toothache. As byakangelicin can inhibit the effects of sex hormones, it may increase the catabolism of endogenous hormones. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of byakangelicin on the cytochrome P450 isoform cytochrome (CY) P3A4 in human hepatocytes.Cultures of human hepatocytes and a hepatoma cell line (Huh7 cells) were used. mRNA and protein levels were measured by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot. Plasmid constructs and mutants were prepared by cloning and site-directed mutagenesis. Reporter (luciferase) activity was determined by transient co-transfection experiments.In human primary hepatocytes, byakangelicin markedly induced the expression of CYP3A4 both at the mRNA level (approximately fivefold) and the protein level (approximately threefold) but did not affect expression of human pregnane X receptor (hPXR). In reporter assays, byakangelicin activated CYP3A4 promoter in a concentration-dependent manner (EC?? = 5 µM), and this activation was enhanced by co-transfection with hPXR. Further reporter assays demonstrated that the eNR4 binding element in the CYP3A4 promoter was required for the transcriptional activation of CYP3A4 by byakangelicin.Byakangelicin induced expression and activity of CYP3A4 in human hepatocytes. This induction was achieved by the transactivation of PXR and not by increased expression of PXR. Therefore, byakangelicin is likely to increase the expression of all PXR target genes (such as MDR1) and induce a wide range of drug-drug interactions.
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.