Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) catalyse the hydrolysis of cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP, thereby regulating the intracellular concentrations of these cyclic nucleotides, their signalling pathways and, consequently, myriad biological responses in health and disease. Currently, a small number of PDE inhibitors are used clinically for treating the pathophysiological dysregulation of cyclic nucleotide signalling in several disorders, including erectile dysfunction, pulmonary hypertension, acute refractory cardiac failure, intermittent claudication and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, pharmaceutical interest in PDEs has been reignited by the increasing understanding of the roles of individual PDEs in regulating the subcellular compartmentalization of specific cyclic nucleotide signalling pathways, by the structure-based design of novel specific inhibitors and by the development of more sophisticated strategies to target individual PDE variants.
Trypanosoma brucei cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase B1 (TbrPDEB1) and TbrPDEB2 have recently been validated as new therapeutic targets for human African Trypanosomiasis by both genetic and pharmacological means. In this study we report the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of the unliganded TbrPDEB1 and its use for the in silico screening for new TbrPDEB1 inhibitors with novel scaffolds. The TbrPDEB1 crystal structure shows the characteristic folds of human PDE enzymes, but also contains the parasite-specific P-pocket found in the structures of Leishmania major PDEB1 and Trypanosoma cruzi PDEC. The unliganded TbrPDEB1 X-ray structure was subjected to a structure-based in silico screening approach that combines molecular docking simulations with a protein-ligand interaction fingerprint (IFP) scoring method. This approach identified, six novel TbrPDEB1 inhibitors with IC50 values of 10–80 μM, which may be further optimized as potential selective TbrPDEB inhibitors.
New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1 (NDM-1) is a key enzyme that the pathogen Klebsiella pneumonia uses to hydrolyze almost all β-lactam antibiotics. It is currently unclear why NDM-1 has a broad spectrum of activity. Docking of the representatives of the β-lactam families into the active site of NDM-1 is reported here. All the β-lactams naturally fit the NDM-1 pocket, implying that NDM-1 can accommodate the substrates without dramatic conformation changes. The docking reveals two major binding modes of the β-lactams, which we tentatively name the S (substrate) and I (inhibitor) conformers. In the S conformers of all the β-lactams, the amide oxygen and the carboxylic group conservatively interact with two zinc ions, while the substitutions on the fused rings show dramatic differences in their conformations and positions. Since the bridging hydroxide ion/water in the S conformer is at the position for the nucleophilic attack, the S conformation may simulate the true binding of a substrate to NDM-1. The I conformer either blocks or displaces the bridging hydroxide ion/water, such as in the case of aztreonam, and is thus inhibitory. The docking also suggests that substitutions on the β-lactam ring are required for β-lactams to bind in the S conformation, and therefore, small β-lactams such as clavulanic acid would be inhibitors of NDM-1. Finally, our docking shows that moxalactam uses its tyrosyl-carboxylic group to compete with the S conformer and would thus be a poor substrate of NDM-1.
A new series of phosphodiesterase-9 (PDE9) inhibitors that contain a scaffold of 6-amino-pyrazolopyrimidinone have been discovered by a combination of structure-based design and computational docking. This procedure significantly saved load of chemical synthesis and is an effective method for the discovery of inhibitors. The best compound 28 has an IC50 of 21 nM and 3.3 µM respectively for PDE9 and PDE5, and about three orders of magnitude of selectivity against other PDE families. The crystal structure of the PDE9 catalytic domain in complex with 28 has been determined and shows a hydrogen bond between 28 and Tyr424. This hydrogen bond may account for the 860-fold selectivity of 28 against PDE1B, in comparison with about 30-fold selectivity of BAY73-6691. Thus, our studies suggest that Tyr424, a unique residue of PDE8 and PDE9, is a potential target for improvement of selectivity of PDE9 inhibitors.
Autophagy is an important intracellular catabolic mechanism that mediates the degradation of cytoplasmic proteins and organelles. We report a potent small molecule inhibitor of autophagy named “spautin-1” for specific and potent autophagy inhibitor-1. Spautin-1 promotes the degradation of Vps34 PI3 kinase complexes by inhibiting two ubiquitin-specific peptidases, USP10 and USP13, that target the Beclin1 subunit of Vps34 complexes. Beclin1 is a tumor suppressor and frequently monoallelically lost in human cancers. Interestingly, Beclin1 also controls the protein stabilities of USP10 and USP13 by regulating their deubiquitinating activities. Since USP10 mediates the deubiquitination of p53, regulating deubiquitination activity of USP10 and USP13 by Beclin1 provides a mechanism for Beclin1 to control the levels of p53. Our study provides a molecular mechanism involving protein deubiquitination that connects two important tumor suppressors, p53 and Beclin1, and a potent small molecule inhibitor of autophagy as a possible lead compound for developing anticancer drugs.
Resveratrol, a polyphenol in red wine, has been reported as a calorie restriction mimetic with potential antiaging and antidiabetogenic properties. It is widely consumed as a nutritional supplement, but its mechanism of action remains a mystery. Here, we report that the metabolic effects of resveratrol result from competitive inhibition of cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterases, leading to elevated cAMP levels. The resulting activation of Epac1, a cAMP effector protein, increases intracellular Ca2+ levels and activates the CamKKβ-AMPK pathway via phospholipase C and the ryanodine receptor Ca2+-release channel. As a consequence, resveratrol increases NAD+ and the activity of Sirt1. Inhibiting PDE4 with rolipram reproduces all of the metabolic benefits of resveratrol, including prevention of diet-induced obesity and an increase in mitochondrial function, physical stamina, and glucose tolerance in mice. Therefore, administration of PDE4 inhibitors may also protect against and ameliorate the symptoms of metabolic diseases associated with aging.
Protozoan infections remain a major unsolved medical problem in many parts of our world. A major obstacle to their treatment is the blatant lack of medication that is affordable, effective, safe and easy to administer. For some of these diseases, including human sleeping sickness, very few compounds are available, many of them old and all of them fraught with toxic side effects. We explore a new concept for developing new-generation antiprotozoan drugs that are based on phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. Such inhibitors are already used extensively in human pharmacology. Given the high degree of structural similarity between the human and the protozoan PDEs, the vast expertise available in the human field can now be applied to developing disease-specific PDE inhibitors as new antiprotozoan drugs.
PDZ (PSD95/Discs large/ZO-1) domains are ubiquitous protein interaction motifs found in scaffolding proteins involved in signal transduction. Despite the fact that many PDZs show a limited tendency to undergo structural change, the PDZ family has been associated with long-range communication and allostery. One of the PDZ domains studied most in terms of structure and biophysical properties is the second PDZ (“PDZ2”) domain from protein tyrosine phophatase 1E (PTP1E, also known as PTPL1). Previously we showed through NMR relaxation studies that binding of the RA-GEF2 C-terminal peptide substrate results in long-range propagation of side-chain dynamic changes in human PDZ2 [Fuentes, et al., J. Mol. Biol. (2004), 335, 1105-1115]. Here, we present the first X-ray crystal structures of PDZ2 in the absence and presence of RA-GEF2 ligand, solved to resolutions of 1.65 and 1.3 Å, respectively. These structures deviate somewhat from previously determined NMR structures, and indicate that very minor structural changes in PDZ2 accompany peptide binding. NMR residual dipolar couplings confirm the crystal structures to be accurate models of the time-averaged atomic coordinates of PDZ2. The impact on side-chain dynamics was further tested with a C-terminal peptide from APC, which showed near-identical results to that of RA-GEF2. Thus, allosteric transmission in PDZ2 induced by peptide binding is conveyed purely and robustly by dynamics. 15N relaxation dispersion measurements did not detect appreciable populations of a kinetic structural intermediate. Collectively, for ligand binding to PDZ2, these data support a lock-and-key binding model from a structural perspective and an allosteric model from a dynamical perspective, which together suggest a complex energy landscape for functional transitions within the ensemble.
PTP-1E; PDZ2; NMR; crystallography; dynamics; relaxation dispersion; residual dipolar couplings; 2H-methyl relaxation
PDE9 inhibitors show potential for treatment of diseases such as diabetes. To help with discovery of PDE9 inhibitors, we performed mutagenesis, kinetic, crystallographic, and molecular dynamics analyses on the active site residues of Gln453 and its stabilizing partner Glu406. The crystal structures of the PDE9 Q453E mutant (PDE9Q453E) in complex with inhibitors IBMX and (S)-BAY73-6691 showed asymmetric binding of the inhibitors in two subunits of the PDE9Q453E dimer and also the significant positional change of the M-loop at the active site. The kinetic analysis of the Q453E and E406A mutants suggested that the invariant glutamine is critical for binding of substrates and inhibitors, but is unlikely to play a key role in the differentiation between substrates of cGMP and cAMP. The molecular dynamics simulations suggest that residue Glu406 may be protonated and may thus explain the hydrogen bond distance between two side chain oxygens of Glu453 and Glu406 in the crystal structure of the PDE9Q453E mutant. The information from these studies may be useful for design of PDE9 inhibitors.
PDE9 inhibitors have been studied as therapeutics for treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. To illustrate the inhibitor selectivity, the crystal structures of the PDE9A catalytic domain in complex with the enantiomers of PDE9 inhibitor 1-(2-chlorophenyl)-6-(3,3,3-trifluoro-2-methylpropyl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine-4(5H)-one ((R)-BAY73-6691 or (S)-BAY73-6691, 1r or 1s) were determined and mutagenesis was performed. The structures showed that the fluoromethyl groups of 1r and 1s had different orientations while the other parts of the inhibitors commonly interacted with PDE9A. These differences may explain the slightly different affinity of 1r (IC50 = 22 nM) and 1s (IC50 = 88 nM). The mutagenesis experiments revealed that contribution of the binding residues to the inhibitor sensitivity varies dramatically, from a few of folds to three orders of magnitude. On the basis of the crystal structures, a hypothesized compound that simulates the recently published PDE9 inhibitors was modeled to provide insight into the inhibitor selectivity.
Phosphodiesterase-9; crystal structure; automatic docking; inhibitor selectivity; mutagenesis
PDE7 inhibitors regulate pro-inflammatory and immune T-cell functions, and are a potentially novel class of drugs especially useful in the treatment of a wide variety of immune and inflammatory disorders. Starting from our lead family of thioxoquinazolines, we designed, synthesized, and characterized a novel series of thioxoquinazoline derivatives. Many of these compounds showed inhibitory potencies at sub-micromolar levels against the catalytic domain of PDE7A1 and at the micromolar level against PDE4D2. Cell-based studies showed that these compounds not only increased intracellular cAMP levels, but also had interesting anti-inflammatory properties within a therapeutic window. The in silico data predict that these compounds are capable of the crossing the blood–brain barrier. The X-ray crystal structure of the PDE7A1 catalytic domain in complex with compound 15 at a resolution of 2.4 Å demonstrated that hydrophobic interactions at the active site pocket are a key feature. This structure, together with molecular modeling, provides insight into the selectivity of the PDE inhibitors and a template for the discovery of new PDE7 or PDE7/PDE4 dual inhibitors.
drug design; inflammation; PDE7; thioxoquinazolines
Phosphodiesterase 4 catalyzes the hydrolysis of cyclic AMP and is a
target for the development of anti-inflammatory agents. We have designed and
synthesized a series of phenyl alkyl ketones as PDE4 inhibitors. Among them, 13
compounds were identified as having submicromolar IC50 values. The
most potent compounds have IC50 values of in the mid- to
low-nanomolar range. Compound 5v also showed preference for PDE4
with selectivity of >2000-fold over PDE7, PDE9, PDE2, and PDE5. Docking of
5v, 5zf, and 5za into the binding
pocket of the PDE4 catalytic domain revealed a similar binding profile to PDE4
with rolipram except that the fluorine atoms of the difluoromethyl groups of
5v, 5za, and 5zf are within a
reasonable range for hydrogen bond formation with the amide hydrogen of Thr 333
and the long alkyl chain bears additional van der Waals interactions with His
160, Asp 318, and Tyr 159.
Human leishmaniasis is a major public health problem in many countries, but chemotherapy is in an unsatisfactory state. Leishmania major phosphodiesterases (LmjPDEs) have been shown to play important roles in cell proliferation and apoptosis of the parasite. Thus LmjPDE inhibitors may potentially represent a novel class of drugs for the treatment of leishmaniasis. Reported here are the kinetic characterization of the LmjPDEB1 catalytic domain and its crystal structure as a complex with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) at 1.55 Å resolution. The structure of LmjPDEB1 is similar to that of human PDEs. IBMX stacks against the conserved phenylalanine and forms a hydrogen bond with the invariant glutamine, in a pattern common to most inhibitors bound to human PDEs. However, an extensive structural comparison reveals subtle but significant differences between the active sites of LmjPDEB1 and human PDEs. In addition, a pocket next to the inhibitor binding site is found to be unique to LmjPDEB1. This pocket is isolated by two gating residues in human PDE families, but constitutes a natural expansion of the inhibitor binding pocket in LmjPDEB1. The structure particularity might be useful for the development of parasite-selective inhibitors for the treatment of leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis; parasite inhibitor selectivity; cAMP phosphodiesterase
Vardenafil has higher affinity to phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) than sildenafil and lower administered dosage for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, the molecular basis for these differences is puzzling because two drugs have similar chemical structures. Reported here is a crystal structure of the fully active and nonmutated PDE5A1 catalytic domain in complex with vardenafil. The structure shows that the conformation of the H-loop in the PDE5A1-vardenafil complex is different from those of any known structures of the unliganded PDE5 and its complexes with the inhibitors. In addition, the molecular configuration of vardenafil differs from that of sildenafil when bound to PDE5. It is noteworthy that the binding of vardenafil causes loss of the divalent metal ions that have been observed in all the previously published PDE structures. The conformational variation of both PDE5 and the inhibitors provides structural insight into the different potencies of the drugs.
Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase-8 (PDE8) hydrolyzes the second messenger cAMP and is involved in many biological processes such as testosterone production. Although the bacterial and mammalian expression systems have been extensively tried, production of large quantity of soluble and active PDE8 remains to be a major hurdle for pharmacological and structural studies. Reported here is a detailed protocol of refolding and purification of large quantity of the PDE8A1 catalytic domain (residues 480–820) and kinetic characterization of the refolded protein. This protocol yielded about 8 mg of the PDE8A catalytic domain from 2 liter E. coli culture, which has at least 40-fold higher activity than those reported in literature. The PDE8A1 catalytic domain has kcat of 4.0 s−1 for Mn2+ and 2.9 s−1 for Mg2+, and the KM values of 1–1.8 μM. In addition, the PDE8A1 (205–820) fragment that contains both PAS and catalytic domains was expressed in E. coli and refolded. This PDE8A1 (205–820) fragment has kcat of 1.1 s−1 and KM of 0.28 μM, but aggregated at high concentration. The KM of PDE8A1 (205–820) is 2- to 7-fold higher than the KM values of 40–150 nM for the full-length PDE8s in literature, but about 6-fold lower than that of the catalytic domain. Thus, the KM difference likely implies an allosteric regulation of the PDE8A activity by its PAS domain.
The de novo design of globular β-sheet proteins remains largely an unsolved problem. It is unclear if most designs are failing because the designed sequences do not have favorable energies in the target conformations or if more emphasis should be placed on negative design, i.e. explicitly identifying sequences that have poor energies when adopting undesired conformations. We tested if we could redesign the sequence of a naturally occurring β-sheet protein, tenascin, with a design algorithm that does not include explicit negative design. Denaturation experiments indicate that the designs are significantly more stable than the wild type protein and the crystal structure of one design closely matches the design model. These results suggest that extensive negative design is not required to create well-folded β-sandwich proteins. However, it is important to note that negative design elements may be encoded in the conformation of the protein backbone which was preserved from the wild type protein.
Computational Protein Design; De Novo Protein Design; β-sheet Design; Negative Design
Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase-8 (PDE8) is a family of cAMP-specific enzymes and plays important roles in many biological processes, including T-cell activation, testosterone production, adrenocortical hyperplasia, and thyroid function. However, no PDE8 selective inhibitors are available for trial treatment of human diseases. Here we report kinetic properties of the highly active PDE8A1 catalytic domain prepared from refolding and its crystal structures in the unliganded and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) bound forms at 1.9 and 2.1 Å resolutions, respectively. The PDE8A1 catalytic domain has KM of 1.8 μM, Vmax of 6.1 μmol/min/mg, kcat of 4.0 s−1 for cAMP, and KM of 1.6 mM, Vmax of 2.5 μmol/min/mg, kcat of 1.6 s−1 for cGMP, thus indicating that the substrate specificity of PDE8 is dominated by KM. The structure of the PDE8A1 catalytic domain has similar topology as those of other PDE families, but contains two extra helices around Asn685-Thr710. Since this fragment is distant from the active site of the enzyme, its impact on the catalysis is unclear. The PDE8A1 catalytic domain is insensitive to the IBMX inhibition (IC50 = 700 μM). The unfavorable interaction of IBMX in the PDE8A1-IBMX structure suggests an important role of Tyr748 in the inhibitor binding. Indeed, the mutation of Tyr748 to phenylalanine increases the PDE8A1 sensitivity to several non-selective or family-selective PDE inhibitors. Thus, the structural and mutagenesis studies provide not only insight into the enzymatic properties, but also guidelines for design of PDE8 selective inhibitors.
Selective inhibitors of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) have been used as drugs for treatment of male erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. An insight into the pharmacophores of PDE5 inhibitors is essential for development of second generation of PDE5 inhibitors, but has not been completely illustrated. Here we report the synthesis of a new class of the sildenafil derivatives and a crystal structure of the PDE5 catalytic domain in complex with 5-(2-ethoxy-5-(sulfamoyl)-3-thienyl)-1-methyl-3-propyl-1,6-dihydro-7H-pyrazolo[4,3-d] pyrimidin-7-one (12). Inhibitor 12 induces conformational change of the H-loop (residues 660–683), which is different from any of the known PDE5 structures. The pyrazolopyrimidinone groups of 12 and sildenafil are well superimposed, but their sulfonamide groups show a positional difference of as much as 1.5 Å. The structure-activity analysis suggests that a small hydrophobic pocket and the H-loop of PDE5 are important for the inhibitor affinity, in addition to two common elements for binding of almost all the PDE inhibitors: the stack against the phenylalanine and the hydrogen bond with the invariant glutamine. However, the PDE5-12 structure does not provide a full explanation to affinity changes of the inhibitors. Thus alternatives such as conformational change of the M-loop are open and further structural study is required.
Type 4 phosphodiesterase (PDE4) inhibitors are emerging new treatment for a number of disorders including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Here we report the biochemical characterization on the second generation inhibitor (+)-1 (L-869298, IC50 = 0.4 nM) and its enantiomer (−)-1 (L-869299, IC50 = 43 nM), and their co-crystal structures with PDE4D at 2.0 Å resolution. In spite of the 107-fold affinity difference, both enantiomers interact with the same sets of residues in the rigid active site. The weaker (−)-1 adopts an unfavorable conformation in order to preserve the pivotal interactions between the Mg-bound waters and N-oxide of pyridine. These structures support a model in which inhibitors are anchored by the invariant glutamine at one end and the metal-pocket residues at another end. This model provides explanation for most of the observed structure-activity relationship and the metal ion dependency of the catechol-ether based inhibitors and should facilitate their further design.
L-869298; PDE4; enantiomer; cAMP; crystal structure
Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are key enzymes that control the cellular concentrations of the second messengers cAMP and cGMP. The mechanism for selective recognition of substrates cAMP and cGMP by individual PDE families remains a puzzle. To understand the mechanism for substrate recognition by PDE enzymes, the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of an inactive D201N mutant of PDE4D2 in complex with substrate cAMP has been determined at 1.56 Å resolution. The structure shows that Gln369 forms only one hydrogen bond with the adenine of cAMP. This finding provides experimental evidence against the hypothesis of two hydrogen bonds between the invariant glutamine and the substrate cAMP in PDE4, and thus suggests that the widely circulated “glutamine switch” model is unlikely the mechanism for substrate recognition by PDEs. A structure comparison between PDE4D2-cAMP and PDE10A2-cAMP reveals an anti configuration of cAMP in PDE4D2 but syn in PDE10A2, in addition to different contact patterns of cAMP in these two structures. These observations imply that individual PDE families have their characteristic mechanisms for substrate recognition.
PDE4; cAMP/cGMP; substrate specificity