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1.  P2Y13 receptor is responsible for ADP-mediated degranulation in RBL-2H3 rat mast cells 
Extracellular ADP is known to play many important physiological roles. In this study, we identified the P2Y13 receptor in a rat mast cell line (RBL-2H3) and explored the functional role of ADP, its endogenous agonist. ADP induced both intracellular calcium mobilization and release of hexosaminidase (Hex). In an assay of intracellular calcium, ADP was 100-fold less potent than and equally efficacious as the P2Y1 receptor-selective agonist MRS2365. However, ADP was more potent and efficacious than MRS2365 in inducing Hex release and in enhancing antigen-induced Hex release. ADP-induced intracellular calcium mobilization was blocked by phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 and by P2Y1 receptor selective antagonist MRS2500, but not by pertussis toxin (PTX), suggesting a mechanism mediated by the Gq-coupled P2Y1 receptor, but not P2Y13 (Gi-coupled) or P2X receptors. ADP-induced Hex release was blocked by PTX and a selective P2Y13 receptor antagonist MRS2211, but not by MRS2500 or P2Y1 receptor-specific siRNA, suggesting a Gi-coupled P2Y13 receptor-related mechanism. Measurement of gene expression confirmed high expression of both P2Y1 and P2Y13 receptors (in comparison to a previously reported P2Y14 receptor) in RBL-2H3 cells. Thus, we demonstrated that ADP-mediated intracellular calcium mobilization and Hex release in RBL-2H3 cells are via P2Y1 and P2Y13 receptors, respectively. Selective antagonists of the P2Y13 receptor might be novel therapeutic agents for various allergic conditions.
doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2010.08.003
PMCID: PMC2974784  PMID: 20813187
P2Y13 receptor; nucleotide; mast cell; degranulation; allergy; G protein-coupled receptor
2.  Synthesis and Anti-Renal Fibrosis Activity of Conformationally Locked Truncated 2-Hexynyl-N6-Substituted-(N)-Methanocarba-nucleosides as A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists and Partial Agonists 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(4):1344-1354.
Truncated N6-substituted-(N)-methanocarba-adenosine derivatives with 2-hexynyl substitution were synthesized to examine parallels with corresponding 4′-thioadenosines. Hydrophobic N6 and/or C2 substituents were tolerated in A3AR binding, but only an unsubstituted 6-amino group with a C2-hexynyl group promoted high hA2AAR affinity. A small hydrophobic alkyl (4b and 4c) or N6-cycloalkyl group (4d) showed excellent binding affinity at the hA3AR and was better than an unsubstituted free amino group (4a). A3AR affinities of 3-halobenzylamine derivatives 4f–4i did not differ significantly, with Ki values of 7.8–16.0 nM. N6-Methyl derivative 4b (Ki = 4.9 nM) was a highly selective, low efficacy partial A3AR agonist. All compounds were screened for renoprotective effects in human TGF-β1-stimulated mProx tubular cells, a kidney fibrosis model. Most compounds strongly inhibited TGF-β1-induced collagen I upregulation, and their A3AR binding affinities were proportional to antifibrotic effects; 4b was most potent (IC50 = 0.83 μM), indicating its potential as a good therapeutic candidate for treating renal fibrosis.
doi:10.1021/jm4015313
PMCID: PMC3954500  PMID: 24456490
3.  Agonist-bound structure of the human P2Y12 receptor 
Nature  2014;509(7498):119-122.
The P2Y12 receptor (P2Y12R), one of eight members of the P2YR family expressed in humans, has been identified as one of the most prominent clinical drug targets for inhibition of platelet aggregation. Consequently, extensive mutagenesis and modeling studies of the P2Y12R have revealed many aspects of agonist/antagonist binding1-4. However, the details of agonist and antagonist recognition and function at the P2Y12R remain poorly understood at the molecular level. Here, we report the structures of the human P2Y12R in complex with a full agonist 2-methylthio-adenosine-5′-diphosphate (2MeSADP, a close analogue of endogenous agonist ADP) at 2.5 Å resolution, and the corresponding ATP derivative 2-methylthio-adenosine-5′-triphosphate (2MeSATP) at 3.1 Å resolution. Analysis of these structures, together with the structure of the P2Y12R with antagonist ethyl 6-(4-((benzylsulfonyl)carbamoyl)piperidin-1-yl)-5-cyano-2-methylnicotinate (AZD1283)5, reveals dramatic conformational changes between nucleotide and non-nucleotide ligand complexes in the extracellular regions, providing the first insight into a different ligand binding landscape in the δ-group of class A G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Agonist and non-nucleotide antagonist adopt different orientations in the P2Y12R, with only partially overlapped binding pockets. The agonist-bound P2Y12R structure answers long-standing ambiguities surrounding P2Y12R-agonist recognition, and reveals interactions with several residues that had not been reported to be involved in agonist binding. As a first example of a GPCR where agonist access to the binding pocket requires large scale rearrangements in the highly malleable extracellular region, the structural studies therefore will provide invaluable insight into the pharmacology and mechanisms of action of agonists and different classes of antagonists for the P2Y12R and potentially for other closely related P2YRs.
doi:10.1038/nature13288
PMCID: PMC4128917  PMID: 24784220
4.  The role of activated adenosine receptors in degranulation of human LAD2 mast cells 
Purinergic Signalling  2014;10(3):465-475.
Mast cell degranulation triggers hypersensitivity reactions at the body–environment interface. Adenosine modulates degranulation, but enhancement and inhibition have both been reported. Which of four adenosine receptors (ARs) mediate modulation, and how, remains uncertain. Also uncertain is whether adenosine reaches mast cell ARs by autocrine ATP release and ecto-enzymatic conversion. Uncertainties partly reflect species and cell heterogeneity, circumvented here by focusing on homogeneous human LAD2 cells. Quantitative PCR detected expression of A2A, A2B, and A3, but not A1, ARs. Nonselective activation of ARs with increasing NECA monotonically enhanced immunologically or C3a-stimulated degranulation. NECA alone stimulated degranulation slightly. Selective AR antagonists did not affect C3a-stimulated degranulation. NECA's enhancement of C3a-triggered degranulation was partially inhibited by separate application of each selective antagonist, and abolished by simultaneous addition of antagonists to the three ARs. Only the A2A antagonist separately inhibited NECA's enhancement of immunologically stimulated degranulation, which was abolished by simultaneous addition of the three selective antagonists. Immunological or C3a activation did not stimulate ATP release. NECA also enhanced immunologically triggered degranulation of mouse bone marrow derived mast cells (BMMCs), which was partially reduced only by simultaneous addition of the three antagonists or by the nonselective antagonist CGS15943. BMMCs also expressed A2A, A2B, and A3 ARs. but not A1AR detectably. We conclude that (a) A1AR is unnecessary for LAD2 degranulation or AR enhancement; (b) A2A, A2B, and A3 ARs all contribute to pharmacologic AR enhancement of LAD2 and BMMC degranulation; and (c) LAD2 cells depend on microenvironmental adenosine to trigger AR modulation.
doi:10.1007/s11302-014-9409-4
PMCID: PMC4152452  PMID: 24595664
FcεRI; C3a; A2A; A2B; A3; ATP release
5.  Rational Design of Sulfonated A3 Adenosine Receptor-Selective Nucleosides as Pharmacological Tools to Study Chronic Neuropathic Pain 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(14):10.1021/jm4007966.
(N)-Methanocarba (bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane)-adenosine derivatives were probed for sites of charged sulfonate substitution, which precludes diffusion across biological membranes, e.g. blood brain barrier. Molecular modeling predicted that sulfonate groups on C2-phenylethynyl substituents would provide high affinity at both mouse (m) and human (h) A3 adenosine receptors (ARs), while a N6-p-sulfo-phenylethyl substituent would determine higher hA3AR vs. mA3AR affinity. These modeling predictions, based on steric fitting of the binding cavity and crucial interactions with key residues, were confirmed by binding/efficacy studies of synthesized sulfonates. N6-3-Chlorobenzyl-2-(3-sulfophenylethynyl) derivative 7 (MRS5841) bound selectively to h/m A3ARs (Ki hA3AR 1.9 nM) as agonist, while corresponding p-sulfo isomer 6 (MRS5701) displayed mixed A1/A3AR agonism. Both nucleosides administered i.p. reduced mouse chronic neuropathic pain that was ascribed to either A3 or A1/A3ARs using A3AR genetic deletion. Thus, rational design methods based on A3AR homology models successfully predicted sites for sulfonate incorporation, for delineating adenosine’s CNS vs. peripheral actions.
doi:10.1021/jm4007966
PMCID: PMC3858399  PMID: 23789857
Molecular modeling; G protein-coupled receptor; neuropathic pain; purines; radioligand binding; adenosine receptor
6.  AMP-ACTIVATED PROTEIN KINASE AS REGULATOR OF P2Y6 RECEPTOR-INDUCED INSULIN SECRETION IN MOUSE PANCREATIC β-CELLS 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;85(7):991-998.
5’-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its pharmacological modulators have been targeted for treating type 2 diabetes. Extracellular uridine 5’-diphosphate (UDP) activates P2Y6 receptors (P2Y6Rs) in pancreatic β-cells to release insulin and reduce apoptosis, which would benefit diabetes. Here, we studied the role of P2Y6R in activation of AMPK in MIN6 mouse pancreatic β-cells and insulin secretion. Treatment with a potent P2Y6R dinucleotide agonist MRS2957 (500 nM) activated AMPK, which was blocked by P2Y6R-selective antagonist MRS2578. Also, MRS2957 induced phosphorylation of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC), a marker of AMPK activity. Calcium chelator BAPTA-AM, calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase (CaMKK) inhibitor STO-069 and IP3 receptor antagonist 2-APB attenuated P2Y6R-mediated AMPK phosphorylation revealing involvement of intracellular Ca2+ pathways. P2Y6R agonist induced insulin secretion at high glucose, which was reduced by AMPK siRNA. Thus, P2Y6R has a crucial role in β-cell function, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic target in diabetes.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.11.029
PMCID: PMC3594329  PMID: 23333427
nucleotides; G protein-coupled receptor; insulin; AMPK; diabetes; P2Y6 receptor
7.  Allosteric Modulation of A3 Adenosine Receptors by a Series of 3-(2-Pyridinyl)isoquinoline Derivatives 
Molecular pharmacology  2001;60(5):1057-1063.
Allosteric modulators of A1 and A2A adenosine receptors have been described; however, for the A3 adenosine receptor, neither an allosteric site nor a compound with allosteric effects has been described. In this study, the allosteric modulation of human A3 adenosine receptors by a series of 3-(2-pyridinyl)isoquinoline derivatives was investigated by examining their effects on the dissociation of the agonist radioligand, [125I]N6-(4-amino-3-iodobenzyl)-5′ -N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine (I-AB-MECA), from the receptor. Several 3-(2-pyridinyl)isoquinoline derivatives, including VUF5455, VUF8502, VUF8504, and VUF8507, slowed the dissociation of the agonist radioligand [125I]I-AB-MECA in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting an allosteric interaction. These compounds had no effect on the dissociation of the radiolabeled antagonist [3H]PSB-11 from the A3 adenosine receptor, suggesting a selective enhancement of agonist binding. By comparison, compounds of similar structure (VUF8501, VUF8503, VUF8505), the classical adenosine receptor antagonist CGS15943 and the A1 receptor allosteric enhancer PD81723 did not significantly influence the dissociation rate of [125I]I-AB-MECA. The effect of agonist on forskolin-induced cAMP production was significantly enhanced by VUF5455. When the subtype-selectivity of the allosteric enhancement was tested the compounds had no effect on the dissociation of either [3H]N6-[(R)-phenylisopropyl]adenosine from the A1 adenosine receptor or [3H]CGS21680 from the A2A adenosine receptor. Probing of structure-activity relationships suggested that a carbonyl group is essential for allosterism but preferred only for competitive antagonism. The presence of a 7-methyl group decreased the competitive binding affinity without a major loss of the allosteric enhancing activity, suggesting that the structural requirements for allosteric enhancement might be distinct from those for competitive antagonism.
PMCID: PMC3953614  PMID: 11641434
8.  Selective Allosteric Enhancement of Agonist Binding and Function at Human A3 Adenosine Receptors by a Series of Imidazoquinoline Derivatives 
Molecular pharmacology  2002;62(1):81-89.
We have identified a series of 1H-imidazo-[4,5-c]quinolines as selective allosteric enhancers of human A3 adenosine receptors. Several of these compounds potentiated both the potency and maximal efficacy of agonist-induced responses and selectively decreased the dissociation of the agonist N6-(4-amino-3-[125I]iodobenzyl)-5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine from human A3 adenosine receptors. There was no effect on the dissociation of the antagonist [3H]8-ethyl-4-methyl-2-phenyl-(8R)-4,5,7,8-tetrahydro-1H-imidazo[2.1-i]purin-5-one (PSB-11) from the A3 receptors, as well as [3H]N6-[(R)-phenylisopropy-l]adenosine from rat brain A1 receptors and [3H]2-[p-(2-carboxyethyl)phenyl-ethylamino]-5′-N-ethylcarboxamidoad-enosine from rat striatal A2A receptors, suggesting the selective enhancement of agonist binding at A3 receptors. The analogs were tested as antagonists of competitive binding at human A3 receptors, and Ki values ranging from 120 nM to 101 μM were observed; as for many allosteric modulators of G protein-coupled receptors, an orthosteric effect was also present. The most promising leads from the present set of analogs seem to be the 2-cyclopentyl-1H-imidazo[4,5-c]quinoline derivatives, of which the 4-phenylamino analog DU124183 had the most favorable degree of allosteric modulation versus receptor antagonism. The inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP accumulation in intact cells that express human A3 receptors was employed as a functional index of A3 receptor activation. The enhancer DU124183 caused a marked leftward shift of the concentration-response curve of the A3 receptor agonists in the presence of antagonist and, surprisingly, a potentiation of the maximum agonist efficacy by approximately 30%. Thus, we have identified a novel structural lead for developing allosteric enhancers of A3 adenosine receptors; such enhancers may be useful for treating brain ischemia and other hypoxic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3953617  PMID: 12065758
9.  Allosteric modulation and functional selectivity of G protein-coupled receptors 
Drug discovery today. Technologies  2012;10(2):e237-e243.
Agonists of a single G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) may activate distinct signaling pathways. Functional selectivity, an emerging concept with therapeutic relevance for GPCRs, may be due to conformational selection or stabilization with respect to particular agonists, receptor dimerization, variable expression levels of GPCRs and downstream signaling molecules, and allosteric modulation. Allosteric modulators may have potential advantages over orthosteric ligands, including greater selectivity and safety. This review focuses on functional selectivity resulting from allosteric modulation.
doi:10.1016/j.ddtec.2012.08.004
PMCID: PMC3653340  PMID: 24050274
allosteric modulation; functional selectivity; GPCR; adenosine receptor; muscarinic receptor; metabotropic glutamate receptor; calcium sensing receptor; CCR5
10.  Structural Sweet Spot for A1 Adenosine Receptor Activation by Truncated (N)- Methanocarba Nucleosides: Receptor Docking and Potent Anticonvulsant Activity 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(18):8075-8090.
A1 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists display antiischemic and antiepileptic neuroprotective activity, but peripheral cardiovascular side effects impeded their development. SAR study of N6-cycloalkylmethyl 4′-truncated (N)-methanocarba-adenosines identified 10 (MRS5474, N6-dicyclopropylmethyl, Ki 47.9 nM) as a moderately A1AR-selective full agonist. Two stereochemically defined N6-methynyl group substituents displayed narrow SAR; larger than cyclobutyl greatly reduced AR affinity, and larger or smaller than cyclopropyl reduced A1AR selectivity. Nucleoside docking to A1AR homology model characterized distinct hydrophobic cyclopropyl subpockets, the larger “A” forming contacts with Thr270 (7.35), Tyr271 (7.36), Ile274 (7.39) and carbon chains of glutamates (EL2), and smaller subpocket “B” between TM6 and TM7. 10 suppressed minimal clonic seizures (6 Hz mouse model) without typical rotarod impairment of A1AR agonists. Truncated nucleosides, an appealing preclinical approach, have more drug-like physicochemical properties than other A1AR agonists. Thus, we identified highly restricted regions for substitution around N6 suitable for an A1AR agonist with anticonvulsant activity.
doi:10.1021/jm300965a
PMCID: PMC3463139  PMID: 22921089
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; seizures; in vivo
11.  Structure-activity relationships and molecular modeling of 1,2,4-triazoles as adenosine receptor antagonists 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2012;3(9):715-720.
The structure-activity relationship (SAR) for a novel class of 1,2,4-triazole antagonists of the human A2A adenosine receptor (hA2AAR) was explored. Thirty-three analogs of a ligand that was discovered in a structure-based virtual screen against the hA2AAR were tested in hA1, A2A, and A3 radioligand binding assays and in functional assays for the A2BAR subtype. As a series of closely related analogs of the initial lead, 1, did not display improved binding affinity or selectivity, molecular docking was used to guide the selection of more distantly related molecules. This resulted in the discovery of 32, a hA2AAR antagonist (Ki 200 nM) with high ligand efficiency. In the light of the SAR for the 1,2,4-triazole scaffold, we also investigated the binding mode of these compounds based on docking to several A2AAR crystal structures.
doi:10.1021/ml300097g
PMCID: PMC3549271  PMID: 23342198
1,2,4-triazole; A2A adenosine receptor; antagonist; molecular docking; structure-activity relationship
12.  Structure–Activity Relationships and Molecular Modeling of 1,2,4-Triazoles as Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;3(9):715-720.
The structure–activity relationship (SAR) for a novel class of 1,2,4-triazole antagonists of the human A2A adenosine receptor (hA2AAR) was explored. Thirty-three analogs of a ligand that was discovered in a structure-based virtual screen against the hA2AAR were tested in hA1, A2A, and A3 radioligand binding assays and in functional assays for the A2BAR subtype. As a series of closely related analogs of the initial lead, 1, did not display improved binding affinity or selectivity, molecular docking was used to guide the selection of more distantly related molecules. This resulted in the discovery of 32, a hA2AAR antagonist (Ki 200 nM) with high ligand efficiency. In light of the SAR for the 1,2,4-triazole scaffold, we also investigated the binding mode of these compounds based on docking to several A2AAR crystal structures.
doi:10.1021/ml300097g
PMCID: PMC3549271  PMID: 23342198
1,2,4-Triazole; A2A adenosine receptor; antagonist; molecular docking; structure−activity relationship
13.  A2B adenosine receptor blockade inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells 
Purinergic Signalling  2013;9(2):271-280.
The role of the A2B adenosine receptor (AR) in prostate cell death and growth was studied. The A2B AR gene expression quantified by real-time quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis was the highest among four AR subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3) in all three commonly used prostate cancer cell lines, PC-3, DU145, and LNCaP. We explored the function of the A2B AR using PC-3 cells as a model. The A2B AR was visualized in PC-3 cells by laser confocal microscopy. The nonselective A2B AR agonist NECA and the selective A2B AR agonist BAY60-6583, but not the A2A AR agonist CGS21680, concentration-dependently induced adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) accumulation. NECA diminished lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, TNF-α-induced increase of caspase-3 activity, and cycloheximide (CHX)-induced morphological changes typical of apoptosis in PC-3 cells, which were blocked by a selective A2B AR antagonist PSB603. NECA-induced proliferation of PC-3 cells was diminished by siRNA specific for the A2B AR. The selective A2B AR antagonist PSB603 was shown to inhibit cell growth in all three cell lines. Thus, A2B AR blockade inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells, suggesting selective A2B AR antagonists as potential novel therapeutics.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9350-3
PMCID: PMC3646116  PMID: 23315335
Prostate cancer; Cancer; Adenosine receptor; A2B; G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); Cell proliferation
14.  Truncated Nucleosides as A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligands: Combined 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclohexane Substitutions 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2012;3(7):596-601.
C2-Arylethynyladenosine-5′-N-methyluronamides containing a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane ((N)-methanocarba) ring are selective A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists. Similar 4′-truncated C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba nucleosides containing alkyl or alkylaryl groups at the N6 position were low-efficacy agonists or antagonists of the human A3AR with high selectivity. Higher hA3AR affinity was associated with N6-methyl and ethyl (Ki 3–6 nM), than with N6-arylalkyl groups. However, combined C2-phenylethynyl and N6-2-phenylethyl substitutions in selective antagonist 15 provided a Ki of 20 nM. Differences between 4′-truncated and nontruncated analogues of extended C2-p-biphenylethynyl substitution suggested a ligand reorientation in AR binding, dominated by bulky N6 groups in analogues lacking a stabilizing 5′-uronamide moiety. Thus, 4′-truncation of C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba adenosine derivatives is compatible with general preservation of A3AR selectivity, especially with small N6 groups, but reduced efficacy in A3AR-induced inhibition of adenylate cyclase.
doi:10.1021/ml300107e
PMCID: PMC3491360  PMID: 23145215
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenosine receptor
15.  Truncated Nucleosides as A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligands: Combined 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclohexane Substitutions 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;3(7):596-601.
C2-Arylethynyladenosine-5′-N-methyluronamides containing a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane [(N)-methanocarba] ring are selective A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists. Similar 4′-truncated C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba nucleosides containing alkyl or alkylaryl groups at the N6 position were low-efficacy agonists or antagonists of the human A3AR with high selectivity. Higher hA3AR affinity was associated with N6-methyl and ethyl (Ki = 3–6 nM) than with N6-arylalkyl groups. However, combined C2-phenylethynyl and N6-2-phenylethyl substitutions in selective antagonist 15 provided a Ki of 20 nM. Differences between 4′-truncated and nontruncated analogues of extended C2-p-biphenylethynyl substitution suggested a ligand reorientation in AR binding, dominated by bulky N6 groups in analogues lacking a stabilizing 5′-uronamide moiety. Thus, 4′-truncation of C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba adenosine derivatives is compatible with general preservation of A3AR selectivity, especially with small N6 groups, but reduced efficacy in A3AR-induced inhibition of adenylate cyclase.
doi:10.1021/ml300107e
PMCID: PMC3491360  PMID: 23145215
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure−activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenosine receptor
16.  Novel Fluorescent Antagonist as a Molecular Probe in A3 Adenosine Receptor Binding Assays Using Flow Cytometry 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2012;83(11):1552-1561.
The physiological role of the A3 adenosine receptor (AR) was explored in cardiac ischaemia, inflammatory diseases and cancer. We report a new fluorophore-conjugated human (h) A3AR antagonist for application to cell-based assays in ligand discovery and for receptor imaging. Fluorescent pyrazolo[4,3-e][1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidin-5-ylamine (pyrazolo-triazolo-pyrimidine, PTP) and triazolo[1,5-c]quinazolin-5-yl)amine (triazolo-quinazoline, TQ) AR antagonists were compared. A chain-extended and click-conjugated Alexa Fluor-488 TQ derivative (MRS5449) displayed a radioligand binding Ki value of 6.4 ± 2.5 nM in hA3AR-expressing CHO cell membranes. MRS5449 antagonized hA3AR agonist-induced inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation in a concentration-dependent manner (KB 4.8 nM). Using flow cytometry (FCM), MRS5449 saturated hA3ARs with very high specific-to-nonspecific binding ratio with an equilibrium binding constant 5.15 nM, comparable to the Kd value of 6.65 nM calculated from kinetic experiments. Ki values of known AR antagonists in inhibition of MRS5449 binding in whole cell FCM were consistent with radioligand binding in membranes, but agonist binding was 5–20 fold weaker than obtained with agonist radioligand [125I]I-AB-MECA. Further binding analysis of MRS5549 suggested multiple agonist binding states of the A3AR. Molecular docking predicted binding modes of these fluorescent antagonists. Thus, MRS5449 is a useful tool for hA3AR characterization.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.02.019
PMCID: PMC3322254  PMID: 22402302
purines; fluorescence; G protein-coupled receptor; A3 adenosine receptor; flow cytometry
17.  Structure-Guided Design of A3 Adenosine Receptor-Selective Nucleosides: Combination of 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane Substitutions 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(10):4847-4860.
(N)-Methanocarba adenosine 5′-methyluronamides containing known A3 AR (adenosine receptor)-enhancing modifications, i.e. 2-(arylethynyl)adenine and N6-methyl or N6-(3-substituted-benzyl), were nanomolar full agonists of human (h) A3AR and highly selective (Ki ~0.6 nM, N6-methyl 2-(halophenylethynyl) analogues 13, 14). Combined 2-arylethynyl-N6-3-chlorobenzyl substitutions preserved A3AR affinity/selectivity in the (N)-methanocarba series (e.g. 3,4-difluoro full agonist MRS5698 31, Ki 3 nM, human and mouse A3) better than for ribosides. Polyaromatic 2-ethynyl N6-3-chlorobenzyl analogues, such as potent linearly extended 2-p-biphenylethynyl MRS5679 34 (Ki hA3 3.1 nM; A1, A2A: inactive) and fluorescent 1-pyrene adduct MRS5704 35 (Ki hA3 68.3 nM) were conformationally rigid; receptor docking identified a large, mainly hydrophobic binding region. The vicinity of receptor-bound C2 groups was probed by homology modeling based on recent X-ray structure of an agonist-bound A2AAR, with a predicted helical rearrangement requiring an agonist-specific outward displacement of TM2 resembling opsin. Thus, X-ray structure of related A2AAR is useful in guiding design of new A3AR agonists.
doi:10.1021/jm300396n
PMCID: PMC3371665  PMID: 22559880
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenylate cyclase
18.  Modulation of G protein-coupled adenosine receptors by strategically functionalized agonists and antagonists immobilized on gold nanoparticles 
Purinergic Signalling  2012;9(2):183-198.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) allow the tuning of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties by active or passive targeting of drugs for cancer and other diseases. We have functionalized gold nanoparticles by tethering specific ligands, agonists and antagonists, of adenosine receptors (ARs) to the gold surface as models for cell surface interactions with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The AuNP conjugates with chain-extended AR ligands alone (PEGylated nucleosides and nonnucleosides, anchored to the Au via thioctic acid) were found to be insoluble in water due to hydrophobic entities in the ligand. Therefore, we added a second, biologically inactive pendant moiety to increase the water solubility, consisting of a PEGylated chain terminating in a carboxylic or phosphate group. The purity and stability of the immobilized biologically active ligand were examined by ultrafiltration and HPLC. Pharmacological receptor binding studies on these GPCR ligand-derivatized AuNPs (2–5 nm in diameter), performed using membranes of mammalian cells stably expressing human A1, A2A, and A3ARs, showed that the desired selectivity was retained with Ki values (nanomolar) of A3AR agonist 21b and A2AAR antagonists 24 and 26a of 14 (A3), 34 (A2A), and 69 (A2A), respectively. The corresponding monomers displayed Ki values of 37, 61, and 1,420 nM, respectively. In conclusion, we have synthesized stable, water-soluble AuNP derivatives of tethered A3 and A2AAR ligands that retain the biological properties of their monomeric ligands and are intended for therapeutic and imaging applications. This is the first prototypical application to gold carriers of small molecule (nonpeptide) GPCR ligands, which are under investigation for treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9338-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9338-z
PMCID: PMC3646115  PMID: 23179047
G protein-coupled receptor; Nanoparticle; Nucleoside; Adenosine; Radioligand binding
19.  CONSTITUTIVE ACTIVATION OF A3 ADENOSINE RECEPTORS BY SITE-DIRECTED MUTAGENESIS 
The objective of this study was to create constitutively active mutant human A3 adenosine receptors (ARs) using single amino acid replacements, based on findings from other G protein-coupled receptors. A3 ARs mutated in transmembrane helical domains (TMs) 1, 3, 6, and 7 were expressed in COS-7 cells and subjected to agonist radioligand binding and phospholipase C (PLC) and adenylyl cyclase (AC) assays. Three mutant receptors, A229E in TM6 and R108A and R108K in the DRY motif of TM3, were found to be constitutively active in both functional assays. The potency of the A3 agonist Cl-IB-MECA (2–chloro-N6-(3–iodobenzyl)adenosine-5′-N-methyluronamide) in PLC activation was enhanced by at least an order of magnitude over wild type (EC50 951 nM) in R108A and A229E mutant receptors. Cl-IB-MECA was much less potent (>10-fold) in C88F, Y109F and Y282F mutants or inactive following double mutation of the DRY motif. The degree of constitutive activation was more pronounced for the AC signaling pathway than for the PLC signaling pathway. The results indicated that specific locations within the TMs proximal to the cytosolic region were responsible for constraining the receptor in a G protein-uncoupled conformation.
doi:10.1006/bbrc.2001.5027
PMCID: PMC3626079  PMID: 11396942
purines; G protein-coupled receptor; phospholipase C; adenylyl cyclase; radioligand binding; nucleosides
20.  Structure-Activity Relationships of Truncated D- and L-4′-Thioadenosine Derivatives as Species-Independent A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(20):6609-6613.
Novel D- and L-4′-thioadenosine derivatives lacking the 4′-hydroxymethyl moiety were synthesized, starting from D-mannose and D-gulonic γ-lactone, respectively, as potent and selective species-independent A3 adenosine receptor (AR) antagonists. Among the novel 4′-truncated 2-H nucleosides tested, a N6-(3-chlorobenzyl) derivative 7c was the most potent at the human A3 AR (Ki = 1.5 nM), but a N6-(3-bromobenzyl) derivative 7d showed the optimal species-independent binding affinity.
doi:10.1021/jm8008647
PMCID: PMC3616494  PMID: 18811138
21.  Anti-ischemic effects of multivalent dendrimeric A3 adenosine receptor agonists in cultured cardiomyocytes and in the isolated rat heart 
Pharmacological Research  2011;65(3):338-346.
Adenosine released during myocardial ischemia mediates cardioprotective preconditioning. Multivalent drugs covalently bound to nanocarriers may differ greatly in chemical and biological properties from the corresponding monomeric agents. Here, we conjugated chemically functionalized nucleosides to poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimeric polymers and investigated their effects in rat primary cardiac cell cultures and in the isolated heart. Three conjugates of A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists, chain-functionalized at the C2 or N6 position, were cardioprotective, with greater potency than monomeric agonist Cl-IB-MECA. Multivalent amide-linked MRS5216 was selective for A1 and A3ARs, and triazole-linked MRS5246 and MRS5539 (optionally containing fluorescent label) were A3AR-selective. The conjugates protected ischemic rat cardiomyocytes, an effect blocked by an A3AR antagonist MRS1523, and isolated hearts with significantly improved infarct size, rate of pressure product, and rate of contraction and relaxation. Thus, strategically derivatized nucleosides tethered to biocompatible polymeric carriers display enhanced cardioprotective potency via activation of A3AR on the cardiomyocyte surface.
doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2011.11.013
PMCID: PMC3278557  PMID: 22154845
dendrimer; cardiomyocyte; adenosine receptor; ischemia; isolated heart; rat
22.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of a New Series of 1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-a]-1,3,5-triazines as Human A2A Adenosine Receptor Antagonists with Improved Water Solubility 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(3):877-889.
The structure activity relationship (SAR) of 1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-a]-1,3,5-triazine derivatives related to ZM241385 as antagonists of the A2A adenosine receptor (AR) was explored through the synthesis of analogues substituted at the 5 position. The A2A AR X-ray structure was used to propose a structural basis for the activity and selectivity of the analogues and to direct the synthetic design strategy to provide access to solvent-exposed regions. Thus, we have identified a point of substitution for the attachment of solubilizing groups to enhance both aqueous solubility and physicochemical properties, maintaining potent interactions with the A2A AR and, in some cases, receptor subtype selectivity. Among the most potent and selective novel compounds were a long-chain ether-containing amine congener 20 (Ki 11.5 nM) and its urethane-protected derivative 14 (Ki 17.8 nM). Compounds 20 and 31 (Ki 11.5 and 16.9 nM, respectively) were readily water soluble up to 10 mM. The analogues were docked in the crystallographic structure of the hA2A AR and in a homology model of the hA3 AR, and the per residue electrostatic and hydrophobic contributions to the binding were assessed and stabilizing factors were proposed.
doi:10.1021/jm101349u
PMCID: PMC3578427  PMID: 21214204
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenylyl cyclase
23.  Structure-Activity Relationships of Truncated Adenosine Derivatives as Highly Potent and Selective Human A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2009;17(10):3733-3738.
On the basis of potent and selective binding affinity of truncated 4′-thioadenosine derivatives at the human A3 adenosine receptor (AR), their bioisosteric 4′-oxo derivatives were designed and synthesized from commercially available 2,3-O-isopropylidene-d-erythrono lactone. The derivatives tested in AR binding assays were substituted at the C2 and N6 positions. All synthesized nucleosides exhibited potent and selective binding affinity at the human A3 AR. They were less potent than the corresponding 4′-thio analogues, but showed higher selectivity to other subtypes. The 2-Cl series generally were better than the 2-H series in view of binding affinity and selectivity. Among compounds tested, compound 5d (X = Cl, R = 3-bromobenzyl) showed the highest binding affinity (Ki = 13.0±6.9 nM) at the hA3 AR with high selectivity (at least 1000-fold) in comparison to other AR subtypes. Like the corresponding truncated 4′-thio series, compound 5d antagonized the action of an agonist to inhibit forskolin-stimulated adenylate cyclase in hA3 AR-expressing CHO cells. Although the 4′-oxo series were less potent than the 4′-thio series, this class of human A3 AR antagonists is also regarded as another good template for the design of A3 AR antagonists and for further drug development.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2009.03.034
PMCID: PMC3578599  PMID: 19375920
A3 Adenosine Receptor; Antagonists; Truncated Adenosine; Structure-Activity Relationships
24.  Click Modification in the N6 Region of A3 Adenosine Receptor-Selective Carbocyclic Nucleosides for Dendrimeric Tethering that Preserves Pharmacophore Recognition 
Bioconjugate Chemistry  2012;23(2):232-247.
Adenosine derivatives were modified with alkynyl groups on N6 substituents for linkage to carriers using Cu(I)-catalyzed click chemistry. Two parallel series, both containing a rigid North-methanocarba (bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane) ring system in place of ribose, behaved as A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists: (5′-methyluronamides) or partial agonists (4′-truncated). Terminal alkynyl groups on a chain at the 3 position of a N6-benzyl group or simply through a N6–propargyl group were coupled to azido derivatives, which included both small molecules and G4 (fourth-generation) multivalent poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers, to form 1,2,3-triazolyl linkers. The small molecular triazoles probed the tolerance in A3AR binding of distal, sterically bulky groups such as 1-adamantyl. Terminal 4-fluoro-3-nitrophenyl groups anticipated nucleophilic substitution for chain extension and 18F radiolabeling. N6-(4-Fluoro-3-nitrophenyl)-triazolylmethyl derivative 32 displayed a Ki of 9.1 nM at A3AR with ~1000-fold subtype selectivity. Multivalent conjugates additionally containing click-linked water-solubilizing polyethylene glycol groups potently activated A3AR in the 5′-methyluronamide, but not 4′ truncated series. N6-Benzyl nucleoside conjugate 43 (apparent Ki 24 nM) maintained binding affinity of the monomer better than a N6-triazolylmethyl derivative. Thus, the N6 region of 5′-methyluronamide derivatives, as modeled in receptor docking, is suitable for functionalization and tethering by click chemistry to achieve high A3AR agonist affinity and enhanced selectivity.
doi:10.1021/bc200526c
PMCID: PMC3291892  PMID: 22175234
G protein-coupled receptor; PAMAM dendrimer; purines; structure activity relationship; molecular modeling; adenylate cyclase
25.  The role of P2Y14 and other P2Y receptors in degranulation of human LAD2 mast cells 
Purinergic Signalling  2012;9(1):31-40.
Mast cell degranulation affects many conditions, e.g., asthma and urticaria. We explored the potential role of the P2Y14 receptor (P2Y14R) and other P2Y subtypes in degranulation of human LAD2 mast cells. All eight P2YRs were expressed at variable levels in LAD2 cells (quantitative real-time RT-PCR). Gene expression levels of ADP receptors, P2Y1R, P2Y12R, and P2Y13R, were similar, and P2Y11R and P2Y4R were highly expressed at 5.8- and 3.8-fold of P2Y1R, respectively. Least expressed P2Y2R was 40-fold lower than P2Y1R, and P2Y6R and P2Y14R were ≤50 % of P2Y1R. None of the native P2YR agonists alone induced β-hexosaminidase (β-Hex) release, but some nucleotides significantly enhanced β-Hex release induced by C3a or antigen, with a rank efficacy order of ATP > UDPG ≥ ADP >> UDP, UTP. Although P2Y11R and P2Y4R are highly expressed, they did not seem to play a major role in degranulation as neither P2Y4R agonist UTP nor P2Y11R agonists ATPγS and NF546 had a substantial effect. P2Y1R-selective agonist MRS2365 enhanced degranulation, but ~1,000-fold weaker compared to its P2Y1R potency, and the effect of P2Y6R agonist 3-phenacyl-UDP was negligible. The enhancement by ADP and ATP appears mediated via multiple receptors. Both UDPG and a synthetic agonist of the P2Y14R, MRS2690, enhanced C3a-induced β-Hex release, which was inhibited by a P2Y14R antagonist, specific P2Y14R siRNA and pertussis toxin, suggesting a role of P2Y14R activation in promoting human mast cell degranulation.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9325-4
PMCID: PMC3568423  PMID: 22825617
P2Y; Mast cells; Uracil nucleotide; Degranulation; GPCR; G protein-coupled receptors

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