“Selective” class C G protein-coupled receptor modulators are neutral or biased mGlu5 allosteric ligands

Shane D Hellyer, Sabine Albold, Taide Wang, Amy N Y Chen, Lauren T May, Katie Leach, Karen J Gregory

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous positive and negative allosteric modulators (PAMs and NAMs) of class C G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been developed as valuable preclinical pharmacologic tools and therapeutic agents. Although many class C GPCR allosteric modulators have undergone subtype selectivity screening, most assay paradigms have failed to perform rigorous pharmacologic assessment. Using mGlu5 as a representative class C GPCR, we tested the hypothesis that allosteric modulator selectivity was based on cooperativity rather than affinity. Specifically, we aimed to identify ligands that bound to mGlu5 but exhibited neutral cooperativity with mGlu5 agonists. We additionally evaluated the potential for these ligands to exhibit biased pharmacology. Radioligand binding, intracellular calcium (iCa21) mobilization, and inositol monophosphate (IP1) accumulation assays were undertaken in human embryonic kidney cells expressing low levels of rat mGlu5 (HEK293A-mGlu5-low) for diverse allosteric chemotypes. Numerous “non-mGlu5” class C GPCR allosteric modulators incompletely displaced allosteric mGlu5 radioligand [3H]-methoxy-PEPy binding, consistent with a negative allosteric interaction. Affinity estimates for CPCCOEt (mGlu1 ligand), PHCCC (mGlu4 ligand), GS39783 (GABAB ligand), AZ12216052 (mGlu8 ligand), and CGP7930 (GABAB ligand) at mGlu5 were within 10-fold of their target receptor. Most class C GPCR allosteric modulators had neutral cooperativity with both orthosteric and allosteric mGlu5 agonists in functional assays; however, NPS2143 (calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) NAM), cinacalcet (CaSR PAM), CGP7930, and AZ12216052 were partial mGlu5 agonists for IP1 accumulation, but not iCa21 mobilization. By using mGlu5 as a model class C GPCR, we find that for many class C GPCR allosteric modulators, subtype selectivity is driven by cooperativity and misinterpreted owing to unappreciated bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-514
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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