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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 14;278(11):9426-34. Epub 2003 Jan 10.

Selective binding and oligomerization of the murine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor by a low molecular weight, nonpeptidyl ligand.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426, USA.


Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor regulates neutrophil production by binding to a specific receptor, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor, expressed on cells of the granulocytic lineage. Recombinant forms of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor are used clinically to treat neutropenias. As part of an effort to develop granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mimics with the potential for oral bioavailability, we previously identified a nonpeptidyl small molecule (SB-247464) that selectively activates murine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor signal transduction pathways and promotes neutrophil formation in vivo. To elucidate the mechanism of action of SB-247464, a series of cell-based and biochemical assays were performed. The activity of SB-247464 is strictly dependent on the presence of zinc ions. Titration microcalorimetry experiments using a soluble murine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor construct show that SB-247464 binds to the extracellular domain of the receptor in a zinc ion-dependent manner. Analytical ultracentrifugation studies demonstrate that SB-247464 induces self-association of the N-terminal three-domain fragment in a manner that is consistent with dimerization. SB-247464 induces internalization of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor on intact cells, consistent with a mechanism involving receptor oligomerization. These data show that small nonpeptidyl compounds are capable of selectively binding and inducing productive oligomerization of cytokine receptors.

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