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PLoS One. 2016 Jul 28;11(7):e0159316. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159316. eCollection 2016.

Disulfide-Trapping Identifies a New, Effective Chemical Probe for Activating the Nuclear Receptor Human LRH-1 (NR5A2).

Author information

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, United States of America.
2
Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, United States of America.
3
Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, United States of America.
4
Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Graduate Program, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, United States of America.
5
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, United States of America.

Abstract

Conventional efforts relying on high-throughput physical and virtual screening of large compound libraries have failed to yield high-efficiency chemical probes for many of the 48 human nuclear receptors. Here, we investigated whether disulfide-trapping, an approach new to nuclear receptors, would provide effective lead compounds targeting human liver receptor homolog 1 (hLRH-1, NR5A2). Despite the fact that hLRH-1 contains a large ligand binding pocket and binds phospholipids with high affinity, existing synthetic hLRH-1 ligands are of limited utility due to poor solubility, low efficacy or significant off-target effects. Using disulfide-trapping, we identified a lead compound that conjugates with remarkably high-efficiency to a native cysteine residue (Cys346) lining the hydrophobic cavity in the ligand binding domain of hLRH-1. Guided by computational modeling and cellular assays, the lead compound was elaborated into ligands PME8 and PME9 that bind hLRH-1 reversibly (no cysteine reactivity) and increase hLRH-1 activity in cells. When compared with the existing hLRH-1 synthetic agonist RJW100, both PME8 and PME9 showed comparable induction of the LRH-1 dependent target gene CYP24A1 in human HepG2 cells, beginning as early as 3 h after drug treatment. The induction is specific as siRNA-mediated knock-down of hLRH-1 renders both PME8 and PME9 ineffective. These data show that PME8 and PME9 are potent activators of hLRH-1 and suggest that with further development this lead series may yield useful chemical probes for manipulating LRH-1 activity in vivo.

PMID:
27467220
PMCID:
PMC4965143
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0159316
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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