Interdicting protease-activated receptor-2-driven inflammation with cell-penetrating pepducins.
ABSTRACT: 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:Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are G-protein-coupled receptors that are activated by proteolytic cleavage and generation of a tethered ligand. High PAR1 expression has been documented in a variety of invasive cancers of epithelial origin. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of the four PAR family members to motility of lung carcinomas and primary tumor samples from patients. We found that of the four PARs, only PAR1 expression was highly increased in the lung cancer cell lines. Primary lung cancer cells isolated from patient lung tumors migrated at a 10- to 40-fold higher rate than epithelial cells isolated from nonmalignant lung tissue. Cell-penetrating pepducin inhibitors were generated against the first (i1) and third (i3) intracellular loops of PAR1 and tested for their ability to inhibit PAR1-driven migration and extracellular regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 activity. The PAR1 pepducins showed significant inhibition of cell migration in both primary and established cell lines similar to silencing of PAR1 expression with short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Unlike i1 pepducins, the i3 loop pepducins were effective inhibitors of PAR1-mediated ERK activation and tumor growth. Comparable in efficacy with Bevacizumab, monotherapy with the PAR1 i3 loop pepducin P1pal-7 provided significant 75% inhibition of lung tumor growth in nude mice. We identify the PAR1-ERK1/2 pathway as a feasible target for therapy in lung cancer.
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: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:G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are remarkably versatile signaling systems that are activated by a large number of different agonists on the outside of the cell. However, the inside surface of the receptors that couple to G proteins has not yet been effectively modulated for activity or treatment of diseases. Pepducins are cell-penetrating lipopeptides that have enabled chemical and physical access to the intracellular face of GPCRs. The structure of a third intracellular (i3) loop agonist, pepducin, based on protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) was solved by NMR and found to closely resemble the i3 loop structure predicted for the intact receptor in the on-state. Mechanistic studies revealed that the pepducin directly interacts with the intracellular H8 helix region of PAR1 and allosterically activates the receptor through the adjacent (D/N)PXXYYY motif through a dimer-like mechanism. The i3 pepducin enhances PAR1/Gα subunit interactions and induces a conformational change in fluorescently labeled PAR1 in a very similar manner to that induced by thrombin. As pepducins can potentially be made to target any GPCR, these data provide insight into the identification of allosteric modulators to this major drug target class.
Project description:PAR2 has been proposed to contribute to lesion formation and intense itch in atopic dermatitis. Here, we tested the ability of a cell-penetrating pepducin, PZ-235, to mitigate the potentially deleterious effects of PAR2 in models of atopic dermatitis. PZ-235 significantly inhibited PAR2-mediated expression of inflammatory factors NF-?B, TSLP, TNF-?, and differentiation marker K10 by 94%-98% (P < 0.001) in human keratinocytes and suppressed IL-4 and IL-13 by 68%-83% (P < 0.05) in mast cells. In delayed pepducin treatment models of oxazolone- and DNFB-induced dermatitis, PZ-235 significantly attenuated skin thickening by 43%-100% (P < 0.01) and leukocyte crusting by 57% (P < 0.05), and it inhibited ex vivo chemotaxis of leukocytes toward PAR2 agonists. Daily PZ-235 treatment of filaggrin-deficient mice exposed to dust mite allergens for 8 weeks significantly suppressed total leukocyte and T-cell infiltration by 50%-68%; epidermal thickness by 60%-77%; and skin thickening, scaling, excoriation, and total lesion severity score by 46%-56%. PZ-235 significantly reduced itching caused by wasp venom peptide degranulation of mast cells in mice by 51% (P < 0.05), which was comparable to the protective effects conferred by PAR2 deficiency. Taken together, these results suggest that a PAR2 pepducin may confer broad therapeutic benefits as a disease-modifying treatment for atopic dermatitis and itch.
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:Emerging evidence suggests that protease-activated receptors-1 and -2 (PAR1 and PAR2) can signal together in response to proteases found in the rapidly changing microenvironment of damaged blood vessels. However, it is unknown whether PAR1 and PAR2 promote or mitigate the hyperplastic response to arterial injury. Using cell-penetrating PAR1 pepducins and mice deficient in PAR1 or PAR2, we set out to determine the respective contributions of the receptors to hyperplasia and phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in response to arterial injury.SMCs were strongly activated by PAR1 stimulation, as evidenced by increased mitogenesis, mitochondrial activity, and calcium mobilization. The effects of chronic PAR1 stimulation following vascular injury were studied by performing carotid artery ligations in mice treated with the PAR1 agonist pepducin, P1pal-13. Histological analysis revealed that PAR1 stimulation caused striking hyperplasia, which was ablated in PAR1(-/-) and, surprisingly, PAR2(-/-) mice. P1pal-13 treatment yielded an expression pattern consistent with a dedifferentiated phenotype in carotid artery SMCs. Detection of PAR1-PAR2 complexes provided an explanation for the hyperplastic effects of the PAR1 agonist requiring the presence of both receptors.We conclude that PAR2 regulates the PAR1 hyperplastic response to arterial injury leading to stenosis.
Project description:Proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is a GPCR linked to diverse pathologies, including acute and chronic pain. PAR2 is one of the four PARs that are activated by proteolytic cleavage of the extracellular amino terminus, resulting in an exposed, tethered peptide agonist. Several peptide and peptidomimetic agonists, with high potency and efficacy, have been developed to probe the functions of PAR2, in vitro and in vivo. However, few similarly potent and effective antagonists have been described.We modified the peptidomimetic PAR2 agonist, 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH2 , to create a novel PAR2 peptidomimetic ligand, C391. C391 was evaluated for PAR2 agonist/antagonist activity to PAR2 across Gq signalling pathways using the naturally expressing PAR2 cell line 16HBE14o-. For antagonist studies, a highly potent and specific peptidomimetic agonist (2-aminothiazo-4-yl-LIGRL-NH2 ) and proteinase agonist (trypsin) were used to activate PAR2. C391 was also evaluated in vivo for reduction of thermal hyperalgesia, mediated by mast cell degranulation, in mice.C391 is a potent and specific peptidomimetic antagonist, blocking multiple signalling pathways (Gq -dependent Ca(2+) , MAPK) induced following peptidomimetic or proteinase activation of human PAR2. In a PAR2-dependent behavioural assay in mice, C391 dose-dependently (75??g maximum effect) blocked the thermal hyperalgesia, mediated by mast cell degranulation.C391 is the first low MW antagonist to block both PAR2 Ca(2+) and MAPK signalling pathways activated by peptidomimetics and/or proteinase activation. C391 represents a new molecular structure for PAR2 antagonism and can serve as a basis for further development for this important therapeutic target.
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:Once activated at the surface of cells, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) redistribute to endosomes, where they can continue to signal. Whether GPCRs in endosomes generate signals that contribute to human disease is unknown. We evaluated endosomal signaling of protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2), which has been proposed to mediate pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Trypsin, elastase, and cathepsin S, which are activated in the colonic mucosa of patients with IBS and in experimental animals with colitis, caused persistent PAR2-dependent hyperexcitability of nociceptors, sensitization of colonic afferent neurons to mechanical stimuli, and somatic mechanical allodynia. Inhibitors of clathrin- and dynamin-dependent endocytosis and of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-1 prevented trypsin-induced hyperexcitability, sensitization, and allodynia. However, they did not affect elastase- or cathepsin S-induced hyperexcitability, sensitization, or allodynia. Trypsin stimulated endocytosis of PAR2, which signaled from endosomes to activate extracellular signal-regulated kinase. Elastase and cathepsin S did not stimulate endocytosis of PAR2, which signaled from the plasma membrane to activate adenylyl cyclase. Biopsies of colonic mucosa from IBS patients released proteases that induced persistent PAR2-dependent hyperexcitability of nociceptors, and PAR2 association with ?-arrestins, which mediate endocytosis. Conjugation to cholestanol promoted delivery and retention of antagonists in endosomes containing PAR2 A cholestanol-conjugated PAR2 antagonist prevented persistent trypsin- and IBS protease-induced hyperexcitability of nociceptors. The results reveal that PAR2 signaling from endosomes underlies the persistent hyperexcitability of nociceptors that mediates chronic pain of IBS. Endosomally targeted PAR2 antagonists are potential therapies for IBS pain. GPCRs in endosomes transmit signals that contribute to human diseases.