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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039458. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

A transplantable phosphorylation probe for direct assessment of G protein-coupled receptor activation.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jena University Hospital-Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany.


The newly developed multireceptor somatostatin analogs pasireotide (SOM230), octreotide and somatoprim (DG3173) have primarily been characterized according to their binding profiles. However, their ability to activate individual somatostatin receptor subtypes (sst) has not been directly assessed so far. Here, we transplanted the carboxyl-terminal phosphorylation motif of the sst(2) receptor to other somatostatin receptors and assessed receptor activation using a set of three phosphosite-specific antibodies. Our comparative analysis revealed unexpected efficacy profiles for pasireotide, octreotide and somatoprim. Pasireotide was able to activate sst(3) and sst(5) receptors but was only a partial agonist at the sst(2) receptor. Octreotide exhibited potent agonistic properties at the sst(2) receptor but produced very little sst(5) receptor activation. Like octreotide, somatoprim was a full agonist at the sst(2) receptor. Unlike octreotide, somatoprim was also a potent agonist at the sst(5) receptor. Together, we propose the application of a phosphorylation probe for direct assessment of G protein-coupled receptor activation and demonstrate its utility in the pharmacological characterization of novel somatostatin analogs.

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