Tryptophan 299 is a conserved residue of human pregnane X receptor critical for the functional consequence of ligand binding.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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: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: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:Alpinetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid from the ginger plants. We previously reported the identification of alpinetin as a ligand of human pregnane X receptor (hPXR). The current study investigated the role of alpinetin as a putative PXR activator in ameliorating chemically induced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We found that oral administration of alpinetin significantly alleviated the severity of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice by decreasing the inflammatory infiltration, the levels of the pro-inflammatory mediators, and the PXR target genes in the colon. In vitro, alpinetin blocked the nuclear translocation of p-p65 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages. Further, alpinetin significantly upregulated PXR target genes and inhibited TNF-?-induced NF-?B-luciferase activity in LS174T colorectal cells; however, this regulatory effects were lost when cellular PXR gene was knocked down. In PXR transactivation assays, alpinetin increased both mouse and human PXR transactivation in a dose-dependent manner. Ligand occluding mutants, S247W/C284W and S247W/C284W/S208W, in hPXR-reporter assays, abrogated alpinetin-induced hPXR transactivation. Finally, alpinetin bound to the hPXR-ligand-binding domain (LBD) was confirmed by competitive ligand binding assay. The current study significantly extends prior observations by validating a PXR/NF-?B regulatory mechanism governing alpinetin's anti-inflammatory effects in a murine model of IBD.
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: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 steroid and xenobiotic-responsive human pregnane X receptor (PXR) binds a broad range of structurally diverse compounds. The structures of the apo and ligand-bound forms of PXR are very similar, in contrast to most promiscuous proteins that generally adapt their shape to different ligands. We investigated the structural origins of PXR's recognition promiscuity using computational solvent mapping, a technique developed for the identification and characterization of hot spots, i.e., regions of the protein surface that are major contributors to the binding free energy. Results reveal that the smooth and nearly spherical binding site of PXR has a well-defined hot spot structure, with four hot spots located on four different sides of the pocket and a fifth close to its center. Three of these hot spots are already present in the ligand-free protein. The most important hot spot is defined by three structurally and sequentially conserved residues, W299, F288, and Y306. This largely hydrophobic site is not very specific and interacts with all known PXR ligands. Depending on their sizes and shapes, individual PXR ligands extend into two, three, or four more hot spot regions. The large number of potential arrangements within the binding site explains why PXR is able to accommodate a large variety of compounds. All five hot spots include at least one important residue, which is conserved in all mammalian PXRs, suggesting that the hot spot locations have remained largely invariant during mammalian evolution. The same side chains also show a high level of structural conservation across hPXR structures. However, each of the hPXR hot spots also includes residues with moveable side chains, further increasing the size variation in ligands that PXR can bind. Results also suggest a unique signal transduction mechanism between the PXR homodimerization interface and its coactivator binding site.
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.