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1.  Evolutionary relationships among G protein-coupled receptors using a clustered database approach 
AAPS PharmSci  2001;3(2):25-42.
Guanine nucleotide-binding proteincoupled receptors (GPCRs) comprise large and diverse gene families in fungi, plants, and the animal kingdom. GPCRs appear to share a common structure with 7 transmembrane segments, but sequence similarity is minimal among the most distant GPCRs. To reevaluate the question of evolutionary relationships among the disparate GPCR families, this study takes advantage of the dramatically increased number of cloned GPCRs. Sequences were selected from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) nonredundant peptide database using iterative BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) searches to yield a database of ∼1700 GPCRs and unrelated membrane proteins as controls, divided into 34 distinet clusters. For each cluster, separate position-specific matrices were established to optimize sequence comparisons among GPCRs. This approach resulted in significant alignments between distant GPCR families, including receptors for the biogenic amine/peptide, VIP/secretin, cAMP, STE3/MAP3 fungal pheromones, latrophilin, developmental receptors frizzled and smoothened, as well as the more distant metabotrobic glutamate receptors, the STE2/MAM2 fungal pheromone receptors, and GPR1, a fungal glucose receptor. On the other hand, alignment scores between these recognized GPCR clades with p40 (putative GPCR) and pml (putative GPCR), as well as bacteriorhodopsins, failed to support a finding of homology. This study provides a refined view of GPCR ancestry and serves as a reference database with hyperlinks to other sources. Moreover, it may facilitate database annotation and the assignment of orphan receptors to GPCR families.
PMCID: PMC2779559  PMID: 11741263
2.  Human proton/oligopeptide transporter (POT) genes: Identification of putative human genes using bioinformatics 
AAPS PharmSci  2000;2(2):76-97.
Purpose: The proton-dependent oligopeptide transporters (POT) gene family currently consists of ∼70 cloned cDNAs derived from diverse organisms. In mammals, two genes encoding peptide transporters, PepT1 and PepT2 have been cloned in several species including humans, in addition to a rat histidine/peptide transporter (rPHT1). Because the Candida elegans genome contains five putative POT genes, we searched the available protein and nucleic acid databases for additional mammalian/human POT genes, using iterative BLAST runs and the human expressed sequence tags (EST) database. The apparent human orthologue of rPHT1 (expression largely confined to rat brain and retina) was represented by numerous ESTs originating from many tissues. Assembly of these ESTs resulted in a contiguous sequence covering ∼95% of the suspected coding region. The contig sequences and analyses revealed the presence of several possible splice variants of hPHT1. A second closely related human EST-contig displayed high identity to a recently cloned mouse cDNA encoding cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-inducible 1 protein (gi:4580995). This contig served to identify a PAC clone containing deduced exons and introns of the likely human orthologue (termed hPHT2). Northern analyses with EST clones indicated that hPHT1 is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle and spleen, whereas hPHT2 is found in spleen, placenta, lung, leukocytes, and heart. These results suggest considerable complexity of the human POT gene family, with relevance to the absorption and distribution of cephalosporins and other peptoid drugs.
PMCID: PMC2751030  PMID: 11741232
3.  Molecular modeling of G-protein coupled receptor kinase 2: Docking and biochemical evaluation of inhibitors 
AAPS PharmSci  2000;2(1):9-21.
G-protein coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) regulates the activity of many receptors. Because potent inhibitors of GRK2 are thus far limited to polyanionic compounds like heparin, we searched for new inhibitors with the aid of a molecular model of GRK2. We used the available crystal structure of cAMP dependent protein kinase (cAPK) as a template to construct a 3D homology model of GRK2. Known cAPK and GRK2 inhibitors were docked into the active sites of GRK2 and cAPK using DOCK v3.5. H8 docked into the hydrophobic pocket of the adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP) binding site of cAPK, consistent with its known competitive cAPK inhibition relative to ATP. Similarly, 3 of 4 known GRK2 inhibitors docked into the ATP binding pocket of GRK2 with good scores. Screening the Fine Chemicals Directory (FCD, containing the 3D structures of 13,000 compounds) for docking into the active sites of GRK2 identified H8 and the known GRK2 inhibitor trifluoperazine as candidates. Whereas H8 indeed inhibited light-dependent phosphorylation of rhodopsin by GRK2, but with low potency, 3 additional FCD compounds with promising GRK2 scores failed to inhibit GRK2. This result demonstrates limitations of the GRK2 model in predicting activity among diverse chemical structures. Docking suramin, an inhibitor of protein kinase C (not present in FCD) yielded a good fit into the ATP binding site of GRK2 over cAPK. Suramin did inhibit GRK2 with IC50 32 μM (pA2 6.39 for competitive inhibition of ATP). Suramin congeners with fewer sulfonic acid residues (NF062, NF503 [IC50 14 μM]) or representing half of the suramin molecule (NF520) also inhibited GRK2 as predicted by docking. In conclusion, suramin and analogues are lead compounds in the development of more potent and selective inhibitors of GRK2.
PMCID: PMC2750997  PMID: 11741218
4.  The venus flytrap of periplasmic binding proteins: An ancient protein module present in multiple drug receptors 
AAPS PharmSci  1999;1(2):7-26.
Located between the inner and outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria, periplasmic binding proteins (PBPs) scavenge or sense diverse nutrients in the environment by coupling to transporters or chemotaxis receptors in the inner membrane. Their three-dimensional structures have been deduced in atomic detail with the use of X-ray crystallography, both in the free and liganded state. PBPs consist of two large lobes that close around the bound ligand, resembling a Venus flytrap. This architecture is reiterated in transcriptional regulators, such as the lac repressors. In the process of evolution, genes encoding the PBPs have fused with genes for integral membrane proteins. Thus, diverse mammalian receptors contain extracellular ligand binding domains that are homologous to the PBPs; these include glutamate/glycine-gated ion channels such as the NMDA receptor, G protein-coupled receptors, including metabotropic glutamate, GABA-B, calcium sensing, and pheromone receptors, and atrial natriuretic peptide-guanylate cyclase receptors. Many of these receptors are promising drug targets. On the basis of homology to PBPs and a recently resolved crystal structure of the extracellular binding domain of a glutamate receptor ion channel, it is possible to construct three-dimensional models of their ligand binding domains. Together with the extensive information available on the mechanism of ligand binding to PBPs, such models can serve as a guide in drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC2761117  PMID: 11741199

Results 1-4 (4)