Muscarinic receptors as model targets and antitargets for structure-based ligand discovery

Andrew C Kruse, Dahlia R. Weiss, Mario Rossi, Jianxin Hu, Kelly Hu, Katrin Eitel, Peter Gmeiner, Jürgen Wess, Brian K. Kobilka, Brian K. Shoichet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate virtually all aspects of human physiology and represent an important class of therapeutic drug targets. Many GPCR-targeted drugs resemble endogenous agonists, often resulting in poor selectivity among receptor subtypes and restricted pharmacologic profiles. The muscarinic acetylcholine receptor family exemplifies these problems; thousands of ligands are known, but few are receptor subtype-selective and nearly all are cationic in nature. Using structure-based docking against the M2 and M3 muscarinic receptors, we screened 3.1 million molecules for ligands with new physical properties, chemotypes, and receptor subtype selectivities. Of 19 docking-prioritized molecules tested against the M 2 subtype, 11 had substantial activity and 8 represented new chemotypes. Intriguingly, two were uncharged ligands with low micromolar to high nanomolar Ki values, an observation with few precedents among aminergic GPCRs. To exploit a single amino-acid substitution among the binding pockets between the M2 and M3 receptors, we selected molecules predicted by docking to bind to the M3 and but not the M2 receptor. Of 16 molecules tested, 8 bound to the M3 receptor. Whereas selectivity remained modest formost of these, one was a partial agonist at the M3 receptor without measurable M2 agonism. Consistent with this activity, this compound stimulated insulin release from a mouse β-cell line. These results support the ability of structure-based discovery to identify new ligands with unexplored chemotypes and physical properties, leading to new biologic functions, even in an area as heavily explored as muscarinic pharmacology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-540
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Volume84
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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