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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030792. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

In vitro pharmacological characterization of RXFP3 allosterism: an example of probe dependency.

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Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, San Diego, California, United States of America.


Recent findings suggest that the relaxin-3 neural network may represent a new ascending arousal pathway able to modulate a range of neural circuits including those affecting circadian rhythm and sleep/wake states, spatial and emotional memory, motivation and reward, the response to stress, and feeding and metabolism. Therefore, the relaxin-3 receptor (RXFP3) is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of various CNS diseases. Here we describe a novel selective RXFP3 receptor positive allosteric modulator (PAM), 3-[3,5-Bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-1-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1-[2-(5-methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)ethyl]urea (135PAM1). Calcium mobilization and cAMP accumulation assays in cell lines expressing the cloned human RXFP3 receptor show the compound does not directly activate RXFP3 receptor but increases functional responses to amidated relaxin-3 or R3/I5, a chimera of the INSL5 A chain and the Relaxin-3 B chain. 135PAM1 increases calcium mobilization in the presence of relaxin-3(NH2) and R3/I5(NH2) with pEC50 values of 6.54 (6.46 to 6.64) and 6.07 (5.94 to 6.20), respectively. In the cAMP accumulation assay, 135PAM1 inhibits the CRE response to forskolin with a pIC50 of 6.12 (5.98 to 6.27) in the presence of a probe (10 nM) concentration of relaxin-3(NH2). 135PAM1 does not compete for binding with the orthosteric radioligand, [(125)I] R3I5 (amide), in membranes prepared from cells expressing the cloned human RXFP3 receptor. 135PAM1 is selective for RXFP3 over RXFP4, which also responds to relaxin-3. However, when using the free acid (native) form of relaxin-3 or R3/I5, 135PAM1 doesn't activate RXFP3 indicating that the compound's effect is probe dependent. Thus one can exchange the entire A-chain of the probe peptide while retaining PAM activity, but the state of the probe's c-terminus is crucial to allosteric activity of the PAM. These data demonstrate the existence of an allosteric site for modulation of this GPCR as well as the subtlety of changes in probe molecules that can affect allosteric modulation of RXFP3.

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