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J Med Chem. 2006 May 4;49(9):2689-702.

Orthogonal activation of the reengineered A3 adenosine receptor (neoceptor) using tailored nucleoside agonists.

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Molecular Recognition Section, Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


An alternative approach to overcome the inherent lack of specificity of conventional agonist therapy can be the reengineering of the GPCRs and their agonists. A reengineered receptor (neoceptor) could be selectively activated by a modified agonist, but not by the endogenous agonist. Assisted by rhodopsin-based molecular modeling, we pinpointed mutations of the A(3) adenosine receptor (AR) for selective affinity enhancement following complementary modifications of adenosine. Ribose modifications examined included, at 3': amino, aminomethyl, azido, guanidino, ureido; and at 5': uronamido, azidodeoxy. N(6)-Variations included 3-iodobenzyl, 5-chloro-2-methyloxybenzyl, and methyl. An N(6)-3-iodobenzyl-3'-ureido adenosine derivative 10 activated phospholipase C in COS-7 cells (EC(50) = 0.18 microM) or phospholipase D in chick primary cardiomyocytes, both mediated by a mutant (H272E), but not the wild-type, A(3)AR. The affinity enhancements for 10 and the corresponding 3'-acetamidomethyl analogue 6 were >100-fold and >20-fold, respectively. 10 concentration-dependently protected cardiomyocytes transfected with the neoceptor against hypoxia. Unlike 10, adenosine activated the wild-type A(3)AR (EC(50) of 1.0 microM), but had no effect on the H272E mutant A(3)AR (100 microM). Compound 10 was inactive at human A(1), A(2A), and A(2B)ARs. The orthogonal pair comprising an engineered receptor and a modified agonist should be useful for elucidating signaling pathways and could be therapeutically applied to diseases following organ-targeted delivery of the neoceptor gene.

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