A split luciferase-based probe for quantitative proximal determination of G?q signalling in live cells.
ABSTRACT: The earlier an activation of a G protein-dependent signalling cascade at a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) is probed, the less amplificatory effects contribute to the measured signal. This is especially useful in case of a precise quantification of agonist efficacies, and is of paramount importance, when determining agonist bias in relation to the ?-arrestin pathway. As most canonical assays with medium to high throughput rely on the quantification of second messengers, and assays affording more proximal readouts are often limited in throughput, we developed a technique with a proximal readout and sufficiently high throughput that can be used in live cells. Split luciferase complementation (SLC) was applied to assess the interaction of G?q with its effector phospholipase C-?3. The resulting probe yielded an excellent Z' value of 0.7 and offers a broad and easy applicability to various G?q-coupling GPCRs (hH1R, hM1,3,5R, hNTS1R), expressed in HEK293T cells, allowing the functional characterisation of agonists and antagonists. Furthermore, the developed sensor enabled imaging of live cells by luminescence microscopy, as demonstrated for the hM3R. The versatile SLC-based probe is broadly applicable e.g. to the screening and the pharmacological characterisation of GPCR ligands as well as to molecular imaging.
Project description:A systems view of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in its native environment is central to the development of GPCR therapeutics with fewer side effects. Using the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) as a model, we employed high-throughput phosphoproteomics to investigate signaling induced by structurally diverse agonists in five mouse brain regions. Quantification of 50,000 different phosphosites provided a systems view of KOR in vivo signaling, revealing novel mechanisms of drug action. Thus, we discovered enrichment of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway by U-50,488H, an agonist causing aversion, which is a typical KOR-mediated side effect. Consequently, mTOR inhibition during KOR activation abolished aversion while preserving beneficial antinociceptive and anticonvulsant effects. Our results establish high-throughput phosphoproteomics as a general strategy to investigate GPCR in vivo signaling, enabling prediction and modulation of behavioral outcomes.
Project description:The G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily represents the most important class of pharmaceutical targets. Therefore, the characterization of receptor cascades and their ligands is a prerequisite to discovering novel drugs. Quantification of agonist-induced second messengers and downstream-coupled kinase activities is central to characterization of GPCRs or other pathways that converge on GPCR-mediated signaling. Furthermore, there is a need for simple, cell-based assays that would report on direct or indirect actions on GPCR-mediated effectors of signaling. More generally, there is a demand for sensitive assays to quantify alterations of protein complexes in vivo. We describe the development of a Renilla luciferase (Rluc)-based protein fragment complementation assay (PCA) that was designed specifically to investigate dynamic protein complexes. We demonstrate these features for GPCR-induced disassembly of protein kinase A (PKA) regulatory and catalytic subunits, a key effector of GPCR signaling. Taken together, our observations show that the PCA allows for direct and accurate measurements of live changes of absolute values of protein complex assembly and disassembly as well as cellular imaging and dynamic localization of protein complexes. Moreover, the Rluc-PCA has a sufficiently high signal-to-background ratio to identify endogenously expressed Galpha(s) protein-coupled receptors. We provide pharmacological evidence that the phosphodiesterase-4 family selectively down-regulates constitutive beta-2 adrenergic- but not vasopressin-2 receptor-mediated PKA activities. Our results show that the sensitivity of the Rluc-PCA simplifies the recording of pharmacological profiles of GPCR-based candidate drugs and could be extended to high-throughput screens to identify novel direct modulators of PKA or upstream components of GPCR signaling cascades.
Project description:Transporters are important therapeutic but yet understudied targets due to lack of available assays. Here we describe a novel label-free, whole-cell method for the functional assessment of Solute Carrier (SLC) inhibitors. As many SLC substrates are also ligands for G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), transporter inhibition may affect GPCR signalling due to a change in extracellular concentration of the substrate/ligand, which can be monitored by an impedance-based label-free assay. For this study, a prototypical SLC/GPCR pair was selected, i.e. the equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (SLC29A1/ENT1) and an adenosine receptor (AR), for which adenosine is the substrate/ligand. ENT1 inhibition with three reference compounds was monitored sensitively via AR activation on human osteosarcoma cells. Firstly, the inhibitor addition resulted in an increased apparent potency of adenosine. Secondly, all inhibitors concentration-dependently increased the extracellular adenosine concentration, resulting in an indirect quantitative assessment of their potencies. Additionally, AR activation was abolished by AR antagonists, confirming that the monitored impedance was AR-mediated. In summary, we developed a novel assay as an in vitro model system that reliably assessed the potency of SLC29A1 inhibitors via AR signalling. As such, the method may be applied broadly as it has the potential to study a multitude of SLCs via concomitant GPCR signalling.
Project description:G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of cell surface receptors. They can exist and act as dimers, but the requirement of dimers for agonist-induced signal initiation and structural dynamics remains largely unknown. Frizzled 6 (FZD6) is a member of Class F GPCRs, which bind WNT proteins to initiate signaling. Here, we show that FZD6 dimerizes and that the dimer interface of FZD6 is formed by the transmembrane ?-helices four and five. Most importantly, we present the agonist-induced dissociation/re-association of a GPCR dimer through the use of live cell imaging techniques. Further analysis of a dimerization-impaired FZD6 mutant indicates that dimer dissociation is an integral part of FZD6 signaling to extracellular signal-regulated kinases1/2. The discovery of agonist-dependent dynamics of dimers as an intrinsic process of receptor activation extends our understanding of Class F and other dimerizing GPCRs, offering novel targets for dimer-interfering small molecules.Frizzled 6 (FZD6) is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) involved in several cellular processes. Here, the authors use live cell imaging and spectroscopy to show that FZD6 forms dimers, whose association is regulated by WNT proteins and that dimer dissociation is crucial for FZD6 signaling.
Project description:Biased GPCR ligands are able to engage with their target receptor in a manner that preferentially activates distinct downstream signalling and offers potential for next generation therapeutics. However, accurate quantification of ligand bias in vitro is complex, and current best practice is not amenable for testing large numbers of compound. We have therefore sought to apply ligand bias theory to an industrial scale screening campaign for the identification of new biased ? receptor agonists.? receptor assays with appropriate dynamic range were developed for both G?i -dependent signalling and ?-arrestin2 recruitment. ?log(Emax /EC50 ) analysis was validated as an alternative for the operational model of agonism in calculating pathway bias towards G?i -dependent signalling. The analysis was applied to a high throughput screen to characterize the prevalence and nature of pathway bias among a diverse set of compounds with ? receptor agonist activity.A high throughput screening campaign yielded 440 hits with greater than 10-fold bias relative to DAMGO. To validate these results, we quantified pathway bias of a subset of hits using the operational model of agonism. The high degree of correlation across these biased hits confirmed that ?log(Emax /EC50 ) was a suitable method for identifying genuine biased ligands within a large collection of diverse compounds.This work demonstrates that using ?log(Emax /EC50 ), drug discovery can apply the concept of biased ligand quantification on a large scale and accelerate the deliberate discovery of novel therapeutics acting via this complex pharmacology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:GPCRs are considered essential for various physiological processes and have been the most productive drug targets. Therefore, development of the methods of GPCR ligands screening is a high priority for pharmaceutical industries and research institutions. METHODS:We developed a potential method (piggyBac-TANGO) based on the TANGO and PRESTO-TANGO assays. The system was optimized with a piggyBac transposon as a transgene vehicle, and eGFP was used as a reporter instead of luciferase. The assay was validated in the HEK 293T and U87-MG cell lines and antagonist activities of the compounds were assessed. The transgene copy number and long-term stability were evaluated by qPCR. Then, we performed a DRD2-targeted screening for natural products using the piggyBac-TANGO assay. RESULTS:The validation assay showed that using the piggyBac transposon as a transgene vehicle produced high signal-to-background ratio and stable readout confirmed by investigation of the transgene copy number and long-term stability. Use of eGFP instead of luciferase as a reporter enabled to create a high throughput system suitable for live cells. Moreover, the piggyBac-TANGO assay permitted versatile detection of antagonist activity of compounds and was not limited to a particular cell type. With the use of the piggyBac-TANGO assay, we have successfully identified a novel agonist of DRD2. CONCLUSION:Thus, the results indicate that the piggyBac-TANGO method is a user-friendly, robust and imaging-based assay that provides a novel approach to high throughput GPCR-targeted ligand screening and drug development.
Project description:While the dynamics of the intracellular surface in agonist-stimulated GPCRs is well studied, the impact of GPCR dynamics on G-protein selectivity remains unclear. Here, we combine molecular dynamics simulations with live-cell FRET and secondary messenger measurements, for 21 GPCR-G-protein combinations, to advance a dynamic model of the GPCR-G-protein interface. Our data show C terminus peptides of G?s, G?i, and G?q proteins assume a small ensemble of unique orientations when coupled to their cognate GPCRs, similar to the variations observed in 3D structures of GPCR-G-protein complexes. The noncognate G proteins interface with latent intracellular GPCR cavities but dissociate due to weak and unstable interactions. Three predicted mutations in ?2-adrenergic receptor stabilize binding of noncognate G?q protein in its latent cavity, allowing promiscuous signaling through both G?s and G?q in a dose-dependent manner. This demonstrates that latent GPCR cavities can be evolved, by design or nature, to tune G-protein selectivity, giving insights to pluridimensional GPCR signaling.
Project description:Sodium-phosphate cotransporter 2a, or NaPi2a (SLC34A1), is a solute-carrier (SLC) transporter located in the kidney proximal tubule that reabsorbs glomerular-filtered phosphate. Inhibition of NaPi2a may enhance urinary phosphate excretion and correct maladaptive mineral and hormonal derangements associated with increased cardiovascular risk in chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD). To date, only nonselective NaPi inhibitors have been described. Herein, we detail the discovery of the first series of selective NaPi2a inhibitors, resulting from optimization of a high-throughput screening hit. The oral PK profile of inhibitor PF-06869206 (6f) in rodents allows for the exploration of the pharmacology of selective NaPi2a inhibition.
Project description:G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a class of drug targets of primary importance. However, receptor assays are based on measurement of either ligand displacement or downstream functional responses, rather than direct observation of ligand binding. Issues of allosteric modulation, probe dependence, and functional selectivity create challenges in selecting suitable assays formats. Therefore, a method that directly measures GPCR-ligand interactions, independent of binding site, probe, and signaling pathway would be a useful primary and orthogonal screening method. We have developed a GPCR biosensor assay protocol that offers the opportunity for high-throughput label-free screening that directly measures GPCR-ligand interactions. The biosensor-based direct screening method identifies the interaction of both orthosteric and allosteric ligands with solubilized, native GPCRs, in a label-free and cell-free environment, thus overcoming the limitations of indirect and displacement assay methods. We exemplify the method by the discovery of novel ligands for the chemokine receptor, CCR5, that are ligand efficient fragments.
Project description:Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) have emerging roles in development and tissue maintenance and is the most prevalent GPCR subclass mutated in human cancers, but to date, no drugs have been developed to target them in any disease. aGPCR extracellular domains contain a conserved subdomain that mediates self-cleavage proximal to the start of the 7-transmembrane domain (7TM). The two receptor protomers, extracellular domain and amino terminal fragment (NTF), and the 7TM or C-terminal fragment remain noncovalently bound at the plasma membrane in a low-activity state. We recently demonstrated that NTF dissociation liberates the 7TM N-terminal stalk, which acts as a tethered-peptide agonist permitting receptor-dependent heterotrimeric G protein activation. In many cases, natural aGPCR ligands are extracellular matrix proteins that dissociate the NTF to reveal the tethered agonist. Given the perceived difficulty in modifying extracellular matrix proteins to create aGPCR probes, we developed a serum response element (SRE)-luciferase-based screening approach to identify GPR56/ADGRG1 small-molecule inhibitors. A 2000-compound library comprising known drugs and natural products was screened for GPR56-dependent SRE activation inhibitors that did not inhibit constitutively active G?13-dependent SRE activation. Dihydromunduletone (DHM), a rotenoid derivative, was validated using cell-free aGPCR/heterotrimeric G protein guanosine 5'-3-O-(thio)triphosphate binding reconstitution assays. DHM inhibited GPR56 and GPR114/ADGRG5, which have similar tethered agonists, but not the aGPCR GPR110/ADGRF1, M3 muscarinic acetylcholine, or ?2 adrenergic GPCRs. DHM inhibited tethered peptide agonist-stimulated and synthetic peptide agonist-stimulated GPR56 but did not inhibit basal activity, demonstrating that it antagonizes the peptide agonist. DHM is a novel aGPCR antagonist and potentially useful chemical probe that may be developed as a future aGPCR therapeutic.