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J Med Chem. 2012 Sep 27;55(18):8164-77. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Modulation in selectivity and allosteric properties of small-molecule ligands for CC-chemokine receptors.

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Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, Dk-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Among 18 human chemokine receptors, CCR1, CCR4, CCR5, and CCR8 were activated by metal ion Zn(II) or Cu(II) in complex with 2,2'-bipyridine or 1,10-phenanthroline with similar potencies (EC(50) from 3.9 to 172 μM). Besides being agonists, they acted as selective allosteric enhancers of CCL3. These actions were dependent on a conserved glutamic acid at TM-7 (VII:06/7.39). A screening of 20 chelator analogues in complex with Zn(II) identified compounds with increased potencies, with 7 reaching highest potency at CCR1 (EC(50) of 0.85 μM), 20 at CCR8 (0.39 μM), and 8 at CCR5 (1.0 μM). Altered selectivity for CCR1 and CCR8 over CCR5 (11, 12) and a receptor-dependent separation of allosteric from intrinsic properties were achieved (20). The pocket similarities of CCR1 and CCR8, contrary to CCR5 as proposed by the ligand screen, were elaborated by computational modeling. These studies facilitate exploration of chemokine receptors as possible targets for therapeutic intervention.

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