Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5)-positive allosteric modulators differentially induce or potentiate desensitization of mGlu5 signaling in recombinant cells and neurons

Shane D. Hellyer, Sabine Albold, Kathy Sengmany, Junaid Singh, Katie Leach, Karen J. Gregory

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Allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) are a promising therapeutic strategy for a number of neurological disorders. Multiple mGlu5-positive allosteric modulator (PAM) chemotypes have been discovered that act as either pure PAMs or as PAM-agonists in recombinant and native cells. While these compounds have been tested in paradigms of receptor activation, their effects on receptor regulatory processes are largely unknown. In this study, acute desensitization of mGlu5 mediated intracellular calcium mobilization by structurally diverse mGlu5 orthosteric and allosteric ligands was assessed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and primary murine neuronal cultures from both striatum and cortex. We aimed to determine the intrinsic efficacy and modulatory capacity of diverse mGlu5 PAMs [(R)-5-((3-fluorophenyl)ethynyl)-N-(3-hydroxy-3-methylbutan-2-yl)picolinamide (VU0424465), N-cyclobutyl-6-((3-fluorophenyl)ethynyl)picolinamide (VU0360172), 1-(4-(2,4-difluorophenyl)piperazin-1-yl)-2-((4-fluorobenzyl)oxy)ethanone (DPFE), ((4-fluorophenyl) (2-(phenoxymethyl)-6,7-dihydrooxazolo[5,4-c]pyridin-5(4H)-yl)methanone) (VU0409551), 3-Cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB)] on receptor desensitization and whether cellular context influences receptor regulatory processes. Only VU0424465 and VU0409551 induced desensitization alone in human embryonic kidney 293-mGlu5 cells, while all PAMs enhanced (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG)-induced desensitization. All mGlu5 PAMs induced receptor desensitization alone and enhanced DHPG-induced desensitization in striatal neurons. VU0424465 and VU0360172 were the only PAMs that induced desensitization alone in cortical neurons. With the exception of (CDPPB), PAMs enhanced DHPG-induced desensitization in cortical neurons. Moreover, differential apparent affinities, efficacies, and cooperativities with DHPG were observed for VU0360172, VU0409551, and VU0424465 when comparing receptor activation and desensitization in a cell type-dependent manner. These data indicate that biased mGlu5 allosteric modulator pharmacology extends to receptor regulatory processes in a tissue dependent manner, adding yet another layer of complexity to rational mGlu5 drug discovery. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-315
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • biased modulation
  • context dependence
  • desensitization
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor 5
  • positive allosteric modulator

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