Understanding the cellular and molecular processes involved in learning and memory will help in the development of safe and effective cognitive enhancers. The cAMP response element-binding (CREB) may be a universal modulator of processes required for memory formation, and increasing the levels of second messengers like cAMP and cGMP could ultimately lead to CREB activation. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors regulate signaling pathways by elevating cAMP and/or cGMP levels, and they have been demonstrated to improve learning and memory in a number of rodent models of impaired cognition. The aim of this review is to summarize the outstanding progress that has been made in the application of PDE inhibitors for memory dysfunction. In addition, we have introduced some recent data we generated demonstrating that tadalafil could be considered as an optimal candidate for drug re-positioning and as a good candidate to enhance cognition.
Radioligand binding assays to rat striatal dopamine D1 receptors showed that brain lateralization of the dopaminergic system were not due to changes in expression but in agonist affinity. D1 receptor-mediated striatal imbalance resulted from a significantly higher agonist affinity in the left striatum. D1 receptors heteromerize with dopamine D3 receptors, which are considered therapeutic targets for dyskinesia in parkinsonian patients. Expression of both D3 and D1-D3 receptor heteromers were increased in samples from 6-hydroxy-dopamine-hemilesioned rats rendered dyskinetic by treatment with 3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (L-DOPA). Similar findings were obtained using striatal samples from primates. Radioligand binding studies in the presence of a D3 agonist led in dyskinetic, but not in lesioned or L-DOPA-treated rats, to a higher dopamine sensitivity. Upon D3-receptor activation, the affinity of agonists for binding to the right striatal D1 receptor increased. Excess dopamine coming from L-DOPA medication likely activates D3 receptors thus making right and left striatal D1 receptors equally responsive to dopamine. These results show that dyskinesia occurs concurrently with a right/left striatal balance in D1 receptor-mediated neurotransmission.
Dopamine neurotransmission is traditionally accepted as occurring through the five dopamine receptors that transduce its signal. Recent evidence has demonstrated that the range of physiologically relevant dopamine signaling complexes is greatly expanded by the ability of dopamine receptors to interact with other dopamine receptors and with receptors of other endogenous signaling ligands. These novel heteromeric complexes have functional properties distinct from the component receptors or are able to modulate the canonical signaling and function of the cognate receptors. These dopamine receptor heteromers provide new insight into physiological mechanisms and pathophysiological processes involving dopamine.
Although type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) are expressed abundantly throughout the brain, the presence of type 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2Rs) in neurons is still somewhat controversial. Taking advantage of newly designed CB1R and CB2R mRNA riboprobes, we demonstrate by PCR and in situ hybridization that transcripts for both cannabinoid receptors are present within labeled pallidothalamic-projecting neurons of control and MPTP-treated macaques, whereas the expression is markedly reduced in dyskinetic animals. Moreover, an in situ proximity ligation assay was used to qualitatively assess the presence of CB1Rs and CB2Rs, as well as CB1R-CB2R heteromers within basal ganglia output neurons in all animal groups (control, parkinsonian and dyskinetic macaques). A marked reduction in the number of CB1Rs, CB2Rs and CB1R-CB2R heteromers was found in dyskinetic animals, mimicking the observed reduction in CB1R and CB2R mRNA expression levels. The fact that chronic levodopa treatment disrupted CB1R-CB2R heteromeric complexes should be taken into consideration when designing new drugs acting on cannabinoid receptor heteromers.
A 41-year-old woman had two months of intermittent migratory swellings in the trunk, face, and limbs associated with erythema, pruritus, and pain. Laboratory analysis showed moderate eosinophilia. The triad of eosinophilia, migratory lesions (nodular panniculitis), and raw fish consumption was highly suggestive of cutaneous gnathostomiasis. She was successfully treated with albendazole (400 mg twice a day for 21 days) and showed complete and permanent resolution of the lesions.
Changes in cannabinoid receptor expression and concentration of endocannabinoids have been described in Parkinson's disease; however, it remains unclear whether they contribute to, or result from, the disease process. To evaluate whether targeting the endocannabinoid system could provide potential benefits in the treatment of the disease, the effect of a monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitor that prevents degradation of 2-arachidonyl-glycerol was tested in mice treated chronically with probenecid and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTPp). Chronic administration of the compound, JZL184 (8 mg/kg), prevented MPTPp-induced motor impairment and preserved the nigrostriatal pathway. Furthermore, none of the hypokinetic effects associated with cannabinoid receptor agonism were observed. In the striatum and substantia nigra pars compacta, MPTPp animals treated with JZL184 exhibited astroglial and microglial phenotypic changes that were accompanied by increases in TGF? messenger RNA expression and in glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA and protein levels. JZL184 induced an increase in ?-catenin translocation to the nucleus, implicating the Wnt/catenin pathway. Together, these results demonstrate a potent neuroprotective effect of JZL184 on the nigrostriatal pathway of parkinsonian animals, likely involving restorative astroglia and microglia activation and the release of neuroprotective and antiinflammatory molecules.
CCR5 and CXCR4, the respective cell surface coreceptors of R5 and X4 HIV-1 strains, both form heterodimers with CD4, the principal HIV-1 receptor. Using several resonance energy transfer techniques, we determined that CD4, CXCR4, and CCR5 formed heterotrimers, and that CCR5 coexpression altered the conformation of both CXCR4/CXCR4 homodimers and CD4/CXCR4 heterodimers. As a result, binding of the HIV-1 envelope protein gp120IIIB to the CD4/CXCR4/CCR5 heterooligomer was negligible, and the gp120-induced cytoskeletal rearrangements necessary for HIV-1 entry were prevented. CCR5 reduced HIV-1 envelope-induced CD4/CXCR4-mediated cell-cell fusion. In nucleofected Jurkat CD4 cells and primary human CD4(+) T cells, CCR5 expression led to a reduction in X4 HIV-1 infectivity. These findings can help to understand why X4 HIV-1 strains infection affect T-cell types differently during AIDS development and indicate that receptor oligomerization might be a target for previously unidentified therapeutic approaches for AIDS intervention.
The development of nondopaminergic therapeutic strategies that may improve motor and nonmotor deficits, while possibly slowing down the neurodegenerative process and associated neuroinflammation,is a primary goal of Parkinson disease (PD) research. We investigated the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory potential of combined and single treatment with adenosine A2A and cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonists MSX-3 and rimonabant, respectively, in a rodent model of PD. Rats bearing a unilateral intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine lesion were treated chronically with MSX-3 (0.5or 1 mg/kg/d) and rimonabant (0.1 mg/kg/d) given as monotherapy or combined. The effects of the treatments to counteract dopaminergic cell death and neuroinflammation were assessed by immunohistochemistry for tyrosine hydroxylase and glial cell markers, respectively. Both rimonabant and MSX-3 (1 mg/kg/d) promoted dopaminergic neuron survival in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) when given alone; this effect was weakened when the compounds were combined. Glial activation was not significantly affected by MSX-3 (1 mg/kg/d), whereas rimonabant seemed to increase astrocyte cell density in the SNc. Our findings demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of single treatments and suggest that glial cells might be involved in this protective effect. The results also indicate that the neuroprotective potential of combined therapy may not necessarily reflect or promote single-drug effects and point out that special care should be taken when considering multidrug therapies in PD.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the most populated family of proteins within the human genome. Since the early sixties work on GPCRs and on GPCR-mediated signaling has led to a number of awards, the most recent being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2012. The future of GPCRs research is surely based on their capacity for heteromerization. Receptor heteromers offer a series of challenges that will help in providing success in academic/basic research and translation into more effective and safer drugs.
The overall architecture of the nervous system, especially the CNS, is remarkable. The anatomy of the nervous system is constituted not only by macroscopic and microscopy identifiable regions and neuronal cell types, but also by protein complexes whose identification and localization require sophisticated techniques. G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute an example of proteins that are the key factors in the framework needed to sustain brain and nerve structure and function. The versatility underlying nervous system anatomy takes advantage of a recently discovered feature of GPCRs, the possibility to form heteromers that, placed at specific neuronal subsets and at specific locations (pre-, post-, or peri-synaptic), contribute to attain unique neural functions.
GPR40, the free fatty acid receptor 1, is expressed strongly in the primate pancreas and brain. While the role of pancreatic GPR40 in glucose homeostasis has been extensively studied, the absence of this G-protein-coupled receptor from the brain of rodents has hampered studies into its role in the central nervous system. However, we found intense GPR40 mRNA expression by in situ hybridization in mouse hippocampal and motor cortex neurons. Furthermore, in a neuroblastoma cell GPR40 was activated by docosahexaenoic acid and selective agonists, yet not by palmitic acid. Significantly, the activation of GPR40 provoked the phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein, CREB. The receptor was also functional in primary cultures of murine neurons, in which its activation by a selective agonist produced the phosphorylation of CREB and of extracellular signal-regulated kinases, ERK1/2. These results suggest that mice represent a suitable model for elucidating the role of GPR40 in brain function.
Long-term therapy with L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), still the most effective treatment in Parkinson's disease (PD), is associated with severe motor complications such as dyskinesia. Experimental and clinical data have indicated that adenosine A2A receptor antagonists can provide symptomatic improvement by potentiating L-DOPA efficacy and minimizing its side effects. It is known that the G-protein-coupled adenosine A2A, cannabinoid CB1 and dopamine D2 receptors may interact and form functional A2A-CB1-D2 receptor heteromers in co-transfected cells as well as in rat striatum. These data suggest that treatment with a combination of drugs or a single compound selectively acting on A2A-CB1-D2 heteromers may represent an alternative therapeutic treatment of PD. We investigated the expression of A2A-CB1-D2 receptor heteromers in the striatum of both naïve and hemiparkinsonian rats (HPD-rats) bearing a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion, and assessed how receptor heteromer expression and biochemical properties were affected by L-DOPA treatment. Radioligand binding data showed that A2A-CB1-D2 receptor heteromers are present in the striatum of both naïve and HPD-rats. However, behavioral results indicated that the combined administration of A2A (MSX-3 or SCH58261) and CB1 (rimonabant) receptor antagonists, in the presence of L-DOPA does not produce a response different from administration of the A2A receptor antagonist alone. These behavioral results prompted identification of heteromers in L-DOPA-treated animals. Interestingly, the radioligand binding results in samples from lesioned animals suggest that the heteromer is lost following acute or chronic treatment with L-DOPA.
Caveolae are membrane micro-domains enriched in cholesterol, sphingolipids and caveolins, which are transmembrane proteins with a hairpin-like structure. Caveolae participate in receptor-mediated trafficking of cell surface receptors and receptor-mediated signaling. Furthermore, caveolae participate in clathrin-independent endocytosis of membrane receptors. On the one hand, caveolins are involved in vascular and cardiac dysfunction. Also, neurological abnormalities in caveolin-1 knockout mice and a link between caveolin-1 gene haplotypes and neurodegenerative diseases have been reported. The aim of this article is to present the rationale for considering caveolae as potential targets in cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Peering into the field of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the outsider realizes that many of the therapeutic strategies tested (in animal models) have been successful. One also may notice that there is a deficit in translational research, i.e., to take a successful drug in mice and translate it to the patient. Efforts are still focused on novel projects to expand the therapeutic arsenal to "cure mice." Scientific reasons behind so many successful strategies are not obvious. This article aims to review the current approaches to combat AD and to open a debate on common mechanisms of cognitive enhancement and neuroprotection. In short, either the rodent models are not good and should be discontinued, or we should extract the most useful information from those models. An example of a question that may be debated for the advancement in AD therapy is: In addition to reducing amyloid and tau pathologies, would it be necessary to boost synaptic strength and cognition? The debate could provide clues to turn around the current negative output in generating effective drugs for patients. Furthermore, discovery of biomarkers in human body fluids, and a clear distinction between cognitive enhancers and disease modifying strategies, should be instrumental for advancing in anti-AD drug discovery.
5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA) is an endogenous compound produced through the metabolism of polyamines. The therapeutic potential of MTA has been assayed mainly in liver diseases and, more recently, in animal models of multiple sclerosis. The aim of this study was to determine the neuroprotective effect of this molecule in vitro and to assess whether MTA can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) in order to also analyze its potential neuroprotective efficacy in vivo.
We report a case of femorotibial osteomyelitis due to Nocardia brasiliensis. Nocardia spp are a rare cause of bone infections, and the majority of such cases are associated with the spine. This type of osteomyelitis is uncommon, and in the immunocompetent host, is more often related to a chronic evolution following direct inoculation of the microorganism.
One may wonder why methylxanthines are so abundant in beverages used by humans for centuries, or in cola-drinks that have been heavily consumed since their appearance. It is likely that humans have stuck to any brew containing compounds with psychoactive properties, resulting in a better daily life, i.e., more efficient thinking, exploring, hunting, etc., however, without the serious side effects of drugs of abuse. The physiological effects of methylxanthines have been known for a long time and they are mainly mediated by the so-called adenosine receptors. Caffeine and theobromine are the most abundant methylxanthines in cacao and their physiological effects are notable. Their health-promoting benefits are so remarkable that chocolate is explored as a functional food. The consequences of adenosine receptor blockade by natural compounds present in cacao/chocolate are here reviewed. Palatability and health benefits of methylxanthines, in general, and theobromine, in particular, have further contributed to sustain one of the most innocuous and pleasant habits: chocolate consumption.
G-protein-coupled receptors are targets of a variety of diseases. Drug screening has been classically performed assuming the occurrence of monomeric receptors. As more and more receptor heteromers are identified, the challenge is now to develop screening assays to select heteromer-specific drugs. These drugs may, for instance, be able to interact preferentially with prerather than with postsynaptic receptors. Heteromer-based drug discovery opens new perspectives in both Academic pursuits and for the Pharmaceutical industry.
The molecular basis of priming for l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias in Parkinsons disease (PD), which depends on the indirect pathway of motor control, is not known. In rodents, the indirect pathway contains striatopallidal GABAergic neurons that express heterotrimers composed of A2A adenosine, CB1 cannabinoid and D2 dopamine receptors that regulate dopaminergic neurotransmission. The present study was designed to investigate the expression of these heteromers in the striatum of a primate model of Parkinsons disease and to determine whether their expression and pharmacological properties are altered upon l-DOPA treatment. By using the recently developed in situ proximity ligation assay and by identification of a biochemical fingerprint, we discovered a regional distribution of A2A/CB1/D2 receptor heteromers that predicts differential D2-mediated neurotransmission in the caudate-putamen of Macaca fascicularis. Whereas heteromers were abundant in the caudate nucleus of both naïve and MPTP-treated monkeys, l-DOPA treatment blunted the biochemical fingerprint and led to weak heteromer expression. These findings constitute the first evidence of altered receptor heteromer expression in pathological conditions and suggest that drugs targeting A2A-CB1-D2 receptor heteromers may be successful to either normalize basal ganglia output or prevent L-DOPA-induced side effects.
The patient, MSM, a 69-year-old man, sought medical care due to left dorsal and right lower limb pain. The chest x-ray showed mediastinal enlargement. He was undergoing examination when he lost consciousness and went into shock. Subcutaneous emphysema was observed in the left hemithorax, as well as abolition of breath sounds at auscultation. Tracheal intubation was performed with draining of blood-tinged fluid from the left hemithorax. Echocardiography showed left ventricle with 44/29 mm; septum, 12 mm; posterior wall, 13 mm; mild aortic root dilation, dissection of the lamina and periaortic hematoma. The valves and pericardium were normal. The patient was transferred to Instituto do Coraçao - InCor. Physical examination (21 Oct 2004: 10:45) showed that the patient was sedated with tracheal intubation, pale, heart rate at 90 bpm, blood pressure 130 x 80 mmHg, bloody drainage in the chest tube. Electrocardiogram - frequency 90 bpm, sinus rhythm, low voltage in the frontal plane and decreased voltage in left leads (Fig. 1). Computed tomography showed bilateral subcutaneous emphysema, thoracic aorta with inaccurate borders in its descending portion (from the subclavian artery to the middle portion), collapsed left lung and extensive collection of hematic characteristics in same hemithorax and middle and posterior mediastinum. Small right pneumothorax; small right pleural effusion with underlying parenchymal alterations. The analysis of the heart was impaired by the presence of hemothorax. While undergoing computed tomography, the patient showed no pulse, mydriasis, with asystole unresponsive to resuscitation and died (21 Oct 2011; 15:00 h).
Astrocytes play a key role in modulating synaptic transmission by controlling extracellular gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels via GAT-1 and GAT-3 GABA transporters (GATs). Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes, we show here that a further level of regulation of GABA uptake occurs via modulation of the GATs by the adenosine A1 (A1R) and A2A (A2AR) receptors. This regulation occurs through A1R-A2AR heteromers that signal via two different G proteins, Gs and Gi/0, and either enhances (A2AR) or inhibits (A1R) GABA uptake. These results provide novel mechanistic insight into how GPCR heteromers signal. Furthermore, we uncover a previously unknown mechanism where adenosine, in a concentration-dependent manner, acts via a heterocomplex of adenosine receptors in astrocytes to significantly contribute to neurotransmission at the tripartite (neuron-glia-neuron) synapse.
The Tg2576 mouse, which carries the Swedish mutant form of human ?-amyloid precursor protein (hAPP(swe)), develops Alzheimers Disease (AD)-like phenotype (synaptic pathology, cognitive impairment and ? amyloid -A?- plaques.) in the absence of significant neuronal loss. We have analyzed the hippocampal proteome of Tg2576, focusing on changes at 7 months of age, when A? levels begin to increase but cognitive symptoms are still not evident, and at 16 months, when most AD-like features are manifested. Proteins differentially expressed with respect to wild-type animals were grouped according to their biological function and assessed in the context of AD. Metabolic enzymes, propionyl- CoA carboxylase, which has not been previously related to AD, and glutamine synthetase, which is a key enzyme for ammonium removal, were among deregulated proteins. Mitochondria of young animals have to cope with the metabolic stress and elevated ATP demand caused by overexpression of hAPP(swe). Significantly, a large number of mitochondrial proteins (16, 28% of the total) were deregulated in young Tg2576 mice and seven of them were found at normal levels in aged animals. Mitochondrial dysfunction in 7-month-old mice was confirmed by reduction in the inner membrane integrity and increase in the activity of cytochrome c oxidase. The proteome analysis indicates that mitochondrial and overlapping metabolic alterations are adaptive upon aging, and may explain the synaptic pathology and cognitive impairment in the absence of neuronal loss. Animal models such as 7-month-old Tg2576 mice and tools to investigate synaptic alterations before appearance of neuronal death may help in understanding the pathological mechanisms occurring at early stages of AD.
4-phenylbutyrate (PBA) is a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor whose efficacy in the Tg2576 mouse model of Alzheimer´s disease (AD) is correlated with decreased tau phosphorylation, clearance of intraneuronal Aβ and restoration of dendritic spine density in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. PBA is also a chemical chaperone that facilitates cell proteostasis. To determine the relative contributions of HDAC inhibition and chaperone-like activity in the anti-AD effects of PBA, we compared the effect of PBA with that of sodium butyrate (NaBu), an HDAC inhibitor with no chaperone activity. In neuronal cultures from Tg2576 mice, we observed a correlation between histone 3 acetylation and decreased p-tau levels. Moreover, we observed a decrease in the processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in Tg2576 neurons treated with PBA, but not with NaBu. In Tg2576 mice administered PBA or NaBu for 3 weeks, only PBA normalized the pathological AD markers, implicating, at least in part, other mechanism as the chaperone-like activity in the reversal of the AD-like phenotype of Tg2576 mice. Furthermore, treatment with PBA but not NaBu prevented the neuronal loss in the hippocampus of hAPPWT-overexpressing mice, as was particularly evident in the CA1 layer. In addition to its activity as a HDAC inhibitor, the chaperone activity of PBA appears to at least partially, mediate its reversal of the AD phenotype in Tg2576 mice and its neuroprotective effect in a model of hippocampal neuronal loss.
The mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol (CBD) were studied in vivo using a hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain injury model in newborn pigs. One- to two-day-old piglets were exposed to HI for 30 min by interrupting carotid blood flow and reducing the fraction of inspired oxygen to 10%. Thirty minutes after HI, the piglets were treated with vehicle (HV) or 1 mg/kg CBD, alone (HC) or in combination with 1 mg/kg of a CB2 receptor antagonist (AM630) or a serotonin 5HT1A receptor antagonist (WAY100635). HI decreased the number of viable neurons and affected the amplitude-integrated EEG background activity as well as different prognostic proton-magnetic-resonance-spectroscopy (H(±)-MRS)-detectable biomarkers (lactate/N-acetylaspartate and N-acetylaspartate/choline ratios). HI brain damage was also associated with increases in excitotoxicity (increased glutamate/N-acetylaspartate ratio), oxidative stress (decreased glutathione/creatine ratio and increased protein carbonylation) and inflammation (increased brain IL-1 levels). CBD administration after HI prevented all these alterations, although this CBD-mediated neuroprotection was reversed by co-administration of either WAY100635 or AM630, suggesting the involvement of CB2 and 5HT1A receptors. The involvement of CB2 receptors was not dependent on a CBD-mediated increase in endocannabinoids. Finally, bioluminescence resonance energy transfer studies indicated that CB2 and 5HT1A receptors may form heteromers in living HEK-293T cells. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that CBD exerts robust neuroprotective effects in vivo in HI piglets, modulating excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation, and that both CB2 and 5HT1A receptors are implicated in these effects.
Until very recently, dopamine receptors, like other G-protein-coupled receptors, were believed to function as individual units on the cell surface. Now it has been described by several groups including ours that dopamine receptors not only function as homomers but also form heteromers with other receptors at the membrane level. Bioluminescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (BRET and FRET) based techniques have been very useful to determine the interaction between two receptors, but to demonstrate the existence of higher-order complexes involving more than two molecules requires more sophisticated techniques. Combining BRET and FRET in the Sequential BRET-FRET (SRET) technique permits heteromers formed by three different proteins to be identified. In SRET experiments, the oxidation of a Renilla Luciferase substrate triggers acceptor excitation by BRET and subsequent energy transfer to a FRET acceptor. Using this methodology here we describe the heteromerization between adenosine A(2A), dopamine D(2), and cannabinoids CB(1) receptors in living cells.
Understanding how neural cells handle proteostasis stress in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is important to decipher the mechanisms that underlie the cell death associated with neurodegenerative diseases and to design appropriate therapeutic tools. Here we have compared the sensitivity of a human neuroblastoma cell line (SH-SY5H) to the ER stress caused by an inhibitor of protein glycosylation with that observed in human embryonic kidney (HEK-293T) cells. In response to stress, SH-SY5H cells increase the expression of mRNA encoding downstream effectors of ER stress sensors and transcription factors related to the unfolded protein response (the spliced X-box binding protein 1, CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein, endoplasmic reticulum-localized DnaJ homologue 4 and asparagine synthetase). Tunicamycin-induced death of SH-SY5H cells was prevented by terminal aromatic substituted butyric or valeric acids, in association with a decrease in the mRNA expression of stress-related factors, and in the accumulation of the ATF4 protein. Interestingly, this decrease in ATF4 protein occurs without modifying the phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2?. Together, these results show that when short chain phenyl acyl acids alleviate ER stress in SH-SY5H cells their survival is enhanced.
Under normal conditions the brain maintains a delicate balance between inputs of reward seeking controlled by neurons containing the D1-like family of dopamine receptors and inputs of aversion coming from neurons containing the D2-like family of dopamine receptors. Cocaine is able to subvert these balanced inputs by altering the cell signaling of these two pathways such that D1 reward seeking pathway dominates. Here, we provide an explanation at the cellular and biochemical level how cocaine may achieve this. Exploring the effect of cocaine on dopamine D2 receptors function, we present evidence of ?1 receptor molecular and functional interaction with dopamine D2 receptors. Using biophysical, biochemical, and cell biology approaches, we discovered that D2 receptors (the long isoform of the D2 receptor) can complex with ?1 receptors, a result that is specific to D2 receptors, as D3 and D4 receptors did not form heteromers. We demonstrate that the ?1-D2 receptor heteromers consist of higher order oligomers, are found in mouse striatum and that cocaine, by binding to ?1 -D2 receptor heteromers, inhibits downstream signaling in both cultured cells and in mouse striatum. In contrast, in striatum from ?1 knockout animals these complexes are not found and this inhibition is not seen. Taken together, these data illuminate the mechanism by which the initial exposure to cocaine can inhibit signaling via D2 receptor containing neurons, destabilizing the delicate signaling balance influencing drug seeking that emanates from the D1 and D2 receptor containing neurons in the brain.
Astrocytes play a key role in modulating synaptic transmission by controlling the available extracellular GABA via the GAT-1 and GAT-3 GABA transporters (GATs). Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes, we show here that an additional level of regulation of GABA uptake occurs via modulation of the GATs by the adenosine A(1) (A(1)R) and A(2A) (A(2A)R) receptors. This regulation occurs through a complex of heterotetramers (two interacting homodimers) of A(1)R-A(2A)R that signal via two different G-proteins, G(s) and G(i/o), and either enhances (A(2A)R) or inhibits (A(1)R) GABA uptake. These results provide novel mechanistic insight into how G-protein-coupled receptor heteromers signal. Furthermore, we uncover a previously unknown mechanism in which adenosine, in a concentration-dependent manner, acts via a heterocomplex of adenosine receptors in astrocytes to significantly contribute to neurotransmission at the tripartite (neuron-glia-neuron) synapse.
After nearly three decades of searching for a vaccine against HIV, a cure for this pandemic disease still remains elusive. The low immunogenicity of the surface proteins and the huge variability of the virus, together with the immunocompromised status of the host, have made developing an HIV vaccine an uphill battle. Over the past few years, both immunogen design and immunization strategies have improved, providing hope for future, although the anti-HIV responses achieved still remain modest. As developing a prophylactic vaccine seems unlikely nowadays, efforts have focused on alternative therapeutic immunization approaches, although these still need to be further optimized. Using an immunomodulator capable of restoring immune function in the context of infection, thereby boosting cell-mediated and humoral responses, could be critical in effectively improving current therapeutic approaches. Adenosine deaminase, a protein with a pivotal role in T-cell co-stimulation, has been shown to robustly enhance specific T-cell responses against HIV in vitro. Although its role in humoral responses has not yet been assessed, genetic defects in this enzyme are associated with impaired cellular and humoral responses. Importantly, this molecule is already commercially available pharmaceutically and, therefore, it fulfils all the requirements to be assayed as an anti-HIV vaccine adjuvant.
Several selective antagonists for adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)R) are currently under evaluation in clinical trials (phases I to III) to treat Parkinsons disease, and they will probably soon reach the market. The usefulness of these antagonists has been deduced from studies demonstrating functional interactions between dopamine D? and adenosine A(2A) receptors in the basal ganglia. At present it is believed that A(2A)R antagonists can be used in combination with the dopamine precursor L-DOPA to minimize the motor symptoms of Parkinsons patients. However, a considerable body of data indicates that in addition to ameliorating motor symptoms, adenosine A(2A)R antagonists may also prevent neurodegeneration. Despite these promising indications, one further issue must be considered in order to develop fully optimized antiparkinsonian drug therapy, namely the existence of (hetero)dimers/oligomers of G protein-coupled receptors, a topic that is currently the focus of intense debate within the scientific community. Dopamine D? receptors (D?Rs) expressed in the striatum are known to form heteromers with A(2A) adenosine receptors. Thus, the development of heteromer-specific A(2A) receptor antagonists represents a promising strategy for the identification of more selective and safer drugs.
Previous studies have shown that dopamine and galanin modulate cholinergic transmission in the hippocampus, but little is known about the mechanisms involved and their possible interactions. By using resonance energy transfer techniques in transfected mammalian cells, we demonstrated the existence of heteromers between the dopamine D(1)-like receptors (D(1) and D(5)) and galanin Gal(1), but not Gal(2) receptors. Within the D(1)-Gal(1) and D(5)-Gal(1) receptor heteromers, dopamine receptor activation potentiated and dopamine receptor blockade counteracted MAPK activation induced by stimulation of Gal(1) receptors, whereas Gal(1) receptor activation or blockade did not modify D(1)-like receptor-mediated MAPK activation. Ability of a D(1)-like receptor antagonist to block galanin-induced MAPK activation (cross-antagonism) was used as a "biochemical fingerprint" of D(1)-like-Gal(1) receptor heteromers, allowing their identification in the rat ventral hippocampus. The functional role of D(1)-like-Gal receptor heteromers was demonstrated in synaptosomes from rat ventral hippocampus, where galanin facilitated acetylcholine release, but only with costimulation of D(1)-like receptors. Electrophysiological experiments in rat ventral hippocampal slices showed that these receptor interactions modulate hippocampal synaptic transmission. Thus, a D(1)-like receptor agonist that was ineffective when administered alone turned an inhibitory effect of galanin into an excitatory effect, an interaction that required cholinergic neurotransmission. Altogether, our results strongly suggest that D(1)-like-Gal(1) receptor heteromers act as processors that integrate signals of two different neurotransmitters, dopamine and galanin, to modulate hippocampal cholinergic neurotransmission.
A very significant density of adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) is present in the striatum, where they are preferentially localized postsynaptically in striatopallidal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). In this localization A(2A)Rs establish reciprocal antagonistic interactions with dopamine D(2) receptors (D(2)Rs). In one type of interaction, A(2A)R and D(2)R are forming heteromers and, by means of an allosteric interaction, A(2A)R counteracts D(2)R-mediated inhibitory modulation of the effects of NMDA receptor stimulation in the striatopallidal neuron. This interaction is probably mostly responsible for the locomotor depressant and activating effects of A(2A)R agonist and antagonists, respectively. The second type of interaction involves A(2A)R and D(2)R that do not form heteromers and takes place at the level of adenylyl cyclase (AC). Due to a strong tonic effect of endogenous dopamine on striatal D(2)R, this interaction keeps A(2A)R from signaling through AC. However, under conditions of dopamine depletion or with blockade of D(2)R, A(2A)R-mediated AC activation is unleashed with an increased gene expression and activity of the striatopallidal neuron and with a consequent motor depression. This interaction is probably the main mechanism responsible for the locomotor depression induced by D(2)R antagonists. Finally, striatal A(2A)Rs are also localized presynaptically, in cortico-striatal glutamatergic terminals that contact the striato-nigral MSN. These presynaptic A(2A)Rs heteromerize with A(1) receptors (A(1)Rs) and their activation facilitates glutamate release. These three different types of A(2A)Rs can be pharmacologically dissected by their ability to bind ligands with different affinity and can therefore provide selective targets for drug development in different basal ganglia disorders.
Understanding the trafficking of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their regulation by agonists and antagonists is fundamental to develop more effective drugs. Optical methods using fluorescent-tagged receptors and spinning disk confocal microscopy are useful tools to investigate membrane receptor dynamics in living cells. The aim of this study was to develop a method to characterize receptor dynamics using this system which offers the advantage of very fast image acquisition with minimal cell perturbation. However, in short-term assays photobleaching was still a problem. Thus, we developed a procedure to perform a photobleaching-corrected image analysis. A study of short-term dynamics of the long isoform of the dopamine type 2 receptor revealed an agonist-induced increase in the mobile fraction of receptors with a rate of movement of 0.08??m/s For long-term assays, the ratio between the relative fluorescence intensity at the cell surface versus that in the intracellular compartment indicated that receptor internalization only occurred in cells co-expressing G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2. These results indicate that the lateral movement of receptors and receptor internalization are not directly coupled. Thus, we believe that live imaging of GPCRs using spinning disk confocal image analysis constitutes a powerful tool to study of receptor dynamics.
A2ARs (adenosine A2A receptors) are highly enriched in the striatum, which is the main motor control CNS (central nervous system) area. BRET (bioluminescence resonance energy transfer) assays showed that A2AR homomers may act as cell-surface ADA (adenosine deaminase; EC 188.8.131.52)-binding proteins. ADA binding affected the quaternary structure of A2ARs present on the cell surface. ADA binding to adenosine A2ARs increased both agonist and antagonist affinity on ligand binding to striatal membranes where these proteins are co-expressed. ADA also increased receptor-mediated ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2) phosphorylation. Collectively, the results of the present study show that ADA, apart from regulating the concentration of extracellular adenosine, may behave as an allosteric modulator that markedly enhances ligand affinity and receptor function. This powerful regulation may have implications for the physiology and pharmacology of neuronal A2ARs.
The incorporation of chemical modifications into the structure of bioactive compounds is often difficult because the biological properties of the new molecules must be retained with respect to the native ligand. Ergopeptides, with their high affinities at D(1) and D(2) dopamine receptors, are particularly complex examples. Here, we report the systematic derivatization of two ergopeptides with different peptide-based spacers and their evaluation by radioligand binding assays. Selected spacer-containing ergopeptides with minimal biological alteration and a proper anchoring point were further derivatized with a biotin reporter. Detailed characterization studies identified 13 as a biotin ergopeptide maintaining high affinity and agonist behavior at dopamine receptors, being a useful tool for the study of heteromers involving D(1)R, D(2)R, or D(3)R.
Striatal adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) are highly expressed in medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the indirect efferent pathway, where they heteromerize with dopamine D(2) receptors (D(2)Rs). A(2A)Rs are also localized presynaptically in cortico-striatal glutamatergic terminals contacting MSNs of the direct efferent pathway, where they heteromerize with adenosine A(1) receptors (A(1)Rs). It has been hypothesized that postsynaptic A(2A)R antagonists should be useful in Parkinsons disease, while presynaptic A(2A)R antagonists could be beneficial in dyskinetic disorders, such as Huntingtons disease, obsessive-compulsive disorders and drug addiction. The aim or this work was to determine whether selective A(2A)R antagonists may be subdivided according to a preferential pre- versus postsynaptic mechanism of action. The potency at blocking the motor output and striatal glutamate release induced by cortical electrical stimulation and the potency at inducing locomotor activation were used as in vivo measures of pre- and postsynaptic activities, respectively. SCH-442416 and KW-6002 showed a significant preferential pre- and postsynaptic profile, respectively, while the other tested compounds (MSX-2, SCH-420814, ZM-241385 and SCH-58261) showed no clear preference. Radioligand-binding experiments were performed in cells expressing A(2A)R-D(2)R and A(1)R-A(2A)R heteromers to determine possible differences in the affinity of these compounds for different A(2A)R heteromers. Heteromerization played a key role in the presynaptic profile of SCH-442416, since it bound with much less affinity to A(2A)R when co-expressed with D(2)R than with A(1)R. KW-6002 showed the best relative affinity for A(2A)R co-expressed with D(2)R than co-expressed with A(1)R, which can at least partially explain the postsynaptic profile of this compound. Also, the in vitro pharmacological profile of MSX-2, SCH-420814, ZM-241385 and SCH-58261 was is in accordance with their mixed pre- and postsynaptic profile. On the basis of their preferential pre- versus postsynaptic actions, SCH-442416 and KW-6002 may be used as lead compounds to obtain more effective antidyskinetic and antiparkinsonian compounds, respectively.
This study was undertaken to know whether cognition deficits produced by chronic mild stress (CMS) were associated with pathological markers of Alzheimers disease (AD). The results show that the impairment in the Morris water maze test induced by CMS correlated with an increase in CDK5-dependent phospho-tau levels and with an increase in APP processing. Mice exposed to CMS may then constitute a non-transgenic model for sporadic forms of AD.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with abnormal sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium release, which is promoted by adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) activation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that abnormal calcium release in AF is linked to A(2A)R remodelling.
Previously, using artificial cell systems, we identified receptor heteromers between the dopamine D(1) or D(2) receptors and the histamine H(3) receptor. In addition, we demonstrated two biochemical characteristics of the dopamine D(1) receptor-histamine H(3) receptor heteromer. We have now extended this work to show the dopamine D(1) receptor-histamine H(3) receptor heteromer exists in the brain and serves to provide a novel link between the MAPK pathway and the GABAergic neurons in the direct striatal efferent pathway. Using the biochemical characteristics identified previously, we found that the ability of H(3) receptor activation to stimulate p44 and p42 extracellular signal-regulated MAPK (ERK 1/2) phosphorylation was only observed in striatal slices of mice expressing D(1) receptors but not in D(1) receptor-deficient mice. On the other hand, the ability of both D(1) and H(3) receptor antagonists to block MAPK activation induced by either D(1) or H(3) receptor agonists was also found in striatal slices. Taken together, these data indicate the occurrence of D(1)-H(3) receptor complexes in the striatum and, more importantly, that H(3) receptor agonist-induced ERK 1/2 phosphorylation in striatal slices is mediated by D(1)-H(3) receptor heteromers. Moreover, H(3) receptor-mediated phospho-ERK 1/2 labeling co-distributed with D(1) receptor-containing but not with D(2) receptor-containing striatal neurons. These results indicate that D(1)-H(3) receptor heteromers work as processors integrating dopamine- and histamine-related signals involved in controlling the function of striatal neurons of the direct striatal pathway.
Several recent studies suggest functional and molecular interactions between striatal adenosine A(2A) and cannabinoid CB(1) receptors. Here, we demonstrate that A(2A) receptors selectively modulate reinforcing effects of cannabinoids. We studied effects of A(2A) receptor blockade on the reinforcing effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the endogenous CB(1) receptor ligand anandamide under a fixed-ratio schedule of intravenous drug injection in squirrel monkeys. A low dose of the selective adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonist MSX-3 (1?mg/kg) caused downward shifts of THC and anandamide dose-response curves. In contrast, a higher dose of MSX-3 (3?mg/kg) shifted THC and anandamide dose-response curves to the left. MSX-3 did not modify cocaine or food pellet self-administration. Also, MSX-3 neither promoted reinstatement of extinguished drug-seeking behavior nor altered reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior by non-contingent priming injections of THC. Finally, using in vivo microdialysis in freely-moving rats, a behaviorally active dose of MSX-3 significantly counteracted THC-induced, but not cocaine-induced, increases in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens shell. The significant and selective results obtained with the lower dose of MSX-3 suggest that adenosine A(2A) antagonists acting preferentially at presynaptic A(2A) receptors might selectively reduce reinforcing effects of cannabinoids that lead to their abuse. However, the appearance of potentiating rather than suppressing effects on cannabinoid reinforcement at the higher dose of MSX-3 would likely preclude the use of such a compound as a medication for cannabis abuse. Adenosine A(2A) antagonists with more selectivity for presynaptic versus postsynaptic receptors could be potential medications for treatment of cannabis abuse.
By interacting with CD26 on the CD4+ T cell surface and with the AdoR A(?B) on the DC surface, ADA triggers a costimulatory signal for human T cells. The aim of this study was to know whether ADA-mediated costimulation plays a role in the differentiation of T cells. The results show that irrespective of its enzymatic activity and dependent on TNF-?, IFN-?, and IL-6 action, ADA enhanced the differentiation of CD4+CD45RA+CD45RO? naïve T cells toward CD4+CD25+CD45RO+ Teffs and CD4+CD45RA?CD45RO+ memory T cells. Furthermore, ADA potentiated generation of CD4+CD25(high)Foxp3+ Tregs by a mechanism that seems to be mainly dependent on the enzymatic activity of ADA. Interestingly, an ADA-mediated increase on Teff, memory T cell, and Treg generation occurred, not only in cocultures from healthy individuals but also from HIV-infected patients. These data suggest that ADA is a relevant modulator of CD4+ T cell differentiation, even in cells from immunologically compromised individuals.
It is well known that cocaine blocks the dopamine transporter. This mechanism should lead to a general increase in dopaminergic neurotransmission, and yet dopamine D(1) receptors (D(1)Rs) play a more significant role in the behavioral effects of cocaine than the other dopamine receptor subtypes. Cocaine also binds to ?-1 receptors, the physiological role of which is largely unknown. In the present study, D(1)R and ?(1)R were found to heteromerize in transfected cells, where cocaine robustly potentiated D(1)R-mediated adenylyl cyclase activation, induced MAPK activation per se and counteracted MAPK activation induced by D(1)R stimulation in a dopamine transporter-independent and ?(1)R-dependent manner. Some of these effects were also demonstrated in murine striatal slices and were absent in ?(1)R KO mice, providing evidence for the existence of ?(1)R-D(1)R heteromers in the brain. Therefore, these results provide a molecular explanation for which D(1)R plays a more significant role in the behavioral effects of cocaine, through ?(1)R-D(1)R heteromerization, and provide a unique perspective toward understanding the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.
We now have a significant amount of experimental evidence that indicates that G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) oligomerization, including homo- and heteromerization, is a general phenomenon. Receptor heteromers possess unique biochemical characteristics that are demonstrably different from those of its individual units. These properties include allosteric modulation(s) between units, changes in ligand recognition, G protein-coupling and trafficking. The discovery of GPCR oligomers have been related to the parallel discovery and application of a variety of resonance energy transfer (RET) techniques, such as bioluminescence, fluorescence and sequential RET (BRET, FRET and SRET, respectively), time-resolved FRET (T-FRET) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) microscopy. However, RET techniques are difficult to implement in native tissues. For receptor heteromers, indirect approaches, such as the determination of a unique biochemical characteristic ("biochemical fingerprint"), permit their identification in native tissues and their use as targets for drug development. Dopamine and opioid receptor heteromers are the focus of intense research which is related to the possible multiple applications of their putative ligands in pathological conditions, which include basal ganglia disorders, schizophrenia and drug addiction.
Adenosine and endocannabinoids are very ubiquitous non-classical neurotransmitters that exert a modulatory role on the transmission of other more classical neurotransmitters. In this review we will focus on their common role as modulators of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission in the striatum, the main input structure of the basal ganglia. We will pay particular attention to the role of adenosine A(2A) receptors and cannabinoid CB(1) receptors. Experimental results suggest that presynaptic CB(1) receptors interacting with A(2A) receptors in cortico-striatal glutamatergic terminals that make synaptic contact with dynorphinergic medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs) are involved in the motor-depressant and addictive effects of cannabinoids. On the other hand, postsynaptic CB(1) receptors interacting with A(2A) and D(2) receptors in the dendritic spines of enkephalinergic MSNs and postsynaptic CB(1) receptors in the dendritic spines of dynorphinergic MSN are probably involved in the cataleptogenic effects of cannabinoids. These receptor interactions most probably depend on the existence of a variety of heteromers of A(2A), CB(1) and D(2) receptors in different elements of striatal spine modules. Drugs selective for the different striatal A(2A) and CB(1) receptor heteromers could be used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders and drug addiction and they could provide effective drugs with fewer side effects than currently used drugs.
G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) heteromers are macromolecular complexes with unique functional properties different from those of its individual protomers. Little is known about what determines the quaternary structure of GPCR heteromers resulting in their unique functional properties. In this study, using resonance energy transfer techniques in experiments with mutated receptors, we provide for the first time clear evidence for a key role of intracellular domains in the determination of the quaternary structure of GPCR heteromers between adenosine A(2A), cannabinoid CB(1), and dopamine D(2) receptors. In these interactions, arginine-rich epitopes form salt bridges with phosphorylated serine or threonine residues from CK1/2 consensus sites. Each receptor (A(2A), CB(1), and D(2)) was found to include two evolutionarily conserved intracellular domains to establish selective electrostatic interactions with intracellular domains of the other two receptors, indicating that these particular electrostatic interactions constitute a general mechanism for receptor heteromerization. Mutation experiments indicated that the interactions of the intracellular domains of the CB(1) receptor with A(2A) and D(2) receptors are fundamental for the correct formation of the quaternary structure needed for the function (MAPK signaling) of the A(2A)-CB(1)-D(2) receptor heteromers. Analysis of MAPK signaling in striatal slices of CB(1) receptor KO mice and wild-type littermates supported the existence of A(1)-CB(1)-D(2) receptor heteromer in the brain. These findings allowed us to propose the first molecular model of the quaternary structure of a receptor heteromultimer.
The putative presence of the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB(2)-R) in the central nervous system is still a matter of debate. Although first described in peripheral and immune tissues, evidence suggesting the existence of CB(2)-Rs in glial cells and even neurons has been made available more recently. By taking advantage of newly designed CB(2)-R mRNA riboprobes, we have demonstrated by in situ hybridization and PCR the existence of CB2-R transcripts in a variety of brain areas of the primate Macaca fascicularis, including the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, as well as in the external and internal divisions of the globus pallidus, both pallidal segments showing the highest abundance of CB(2)-R transcripts. In this regard, the presence of the messenger coding CB(2)-Rs within the pallidal complex highlights their consideration as potential targets for the treatment of movement disorders of basal ganglia origin.
Pharmacological characterization of adenosine A(1) and A(2A) receptors in human brain caudate nucleus membranes led to non-cooperative binding of radiolabelled ligands. In human caudate nucleus but not in cortex, the agonist binding to A(1) receptors was modulated by the agonist binding to A(2A) receptors indicating a functional negative cross-talk. Accordingly, the A(1) receptor-activation-mediated G(i)-dependent guanosine 5-o-(3-[(35)S]thio-triphosphate) binding was modulated by agonist binding to A(2A) receptors. A(2A) receptors occupation led to a decrease in the potency of A(1) receptor agonists. These results indicate that A(1) but not A(2A) receptors activation, likely occurring at low adenosine concentrations, engages a G(i)-mediated signaling; however, when both receptors are occupied by adenosine, there is an A(2A) receptor-mediated impairment of G(i)-operated transducing units. These findings are relevant to get insight into the complex relationships derived from co-expression of multiple neurotransmitter/neuromodulator receptors subtypes that individually are coupled to different G proteins. A further finding was the demonstration that the A(2A) receptor agonist, CGS 21680, at high concentrations able to significantly bind to the A(1) receptor, behaved as a partial agonist of the later receptor. This fact might be taken into account when characterizing CGS 21680 actions in human cells expressing A(1) receptors when the compound is used at micromolar concentrations.
ADAs play a pivotal role in regulating the level of adenosine, a signaling molecule controlling a variety of cellular responses by binding to and activating four ADRs. Two enzymes, ADA1 and ADA2, are known to possess ADA activity in humans. Although the structure of ADA1 and its role in lymphocytic activation have been known for a long time, the structure and function of ADA2, a member of ADGF, remain enigmatic. Here, we found that ADA2 is secreted by monocytes undergoing differentiation into macrophages or DCs and that it binds to the cell surface via proteoglycans and ADRs. We demonstrate that ADA1 and ADA2 increase the rate of proliferation of monocyte-activated CD4+ T cells independently of their catalytic activity. We also show that ADA2 induces T cell-dependent differentiation of monocytes into macrophages and stimulates macrophage proliferation. Our discovery of the growth factor-like activity of ADA2 explains clinical observations and suggests that this enzyme could be used as a drug candidate to modulate the immune responses during inflammation and cancer.
Areas covered in this review: The review provides a summary of old and new approaches for GPCR target identification and for the screening of molecules acting on GPCR targets. The new findings in the field are presented as well as an opinion about how these developments may help GPCR drug discovery. Importance in the field: GPCRs have been the most useful family of proteins in terms of targets for drug discovery. The expectations for GPCR target identification and discovery of new drugs acting on old or new GPCR targets are very high. Given the fact that the pace at which new GPCR drugs appear in the market is decreasing and since the new developments in the field are not being translated into drug discovery there is a need to review the field from a critical perspective. Take home message: To overcome the limitation of the old approaches used in GPCR target identification and drugs discovery new approaches are required. In particular successful approaches in GPCR drug discovery should take into account that the real GPCR targets for a given disease are not GPCR monomers but GPCR heteromers. What the reader will gain: The reader will gain an overview of the strategies currently used and their pros and cons. The reader will also understand that new strategies may help in accelerating the access of GPCR into the market, and also notice that successful strategies should take advantage of the new findings in the field of GPCRs.
The proportion of dopamine D(2)(High) receptors has been reported to increase after cocaine self-administration without a significant change in the total number of D(2) receptors. In the present article, the data of competition by dopamine of [(3)H]domperidone binding to striatal samples from naïve and cocaine-addicted animals (Briand et al.,  Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 18:551-556) are analyzed assuming that D(2) receptors are constitutive dimers. The results show another way of interpreting those previous results and lead to the finding that cocaine affects agonist affinity and may strongly affect the receptor-receptor cooperation between dimers, a result that can contribute to dopamine supersensitivity.
Adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) and dopamine D(2) receptors (D(2)Rs) form constitutive heteromers in living cells and exhibit a strong functional antagonistic interaction. Recent findings give neurochemical evidence that extended cocaine self-administration in the rat give rise to an up-regulation of functional A(2A)Rs in the nucleus accumbens that return to baseline expression levels during cocaine withdrawal. In the present work, the acute in vitro effects of a concentration of cocaine known to fully block the dopamine (DA) transporter without exerting any toxic actions were investigated on A(2A)R and D(2L)R formed heteromers in transiently co-transfected HEK-293T cells. In vitro treatment of cocaine was found to produce changes in D(2)R homodimers and in A(2A)R-D(2)R heterodimers detected through bioluminescent energy transfer (BRET). Cocaine was found to produce a time- and concentration-dependent reduction in the BRET(max) between A(2A)R-D(2L)R heterodimers and D(2L)R homodimers, but not A(2A)R homodimers, indicating its effect on D(2)R. Cocaine was evaluated with regard to D(2)R binding using a human D(2L)R stable expressing CHO cell line and was found to produce an increase in the affinity of hD(2L)R for DA. At the level of G protein-coupling, cocaine produced a small, but significant increase in DA-stimulated binding of GTPgammaS. However, cocaine failed to modulate D(2)R agonist-induced inhibition of cAMP in stable hD(2L)R CHO cells or the gating of GIRK channels in oocytes. Taken together, these results indicate a direct and specific effect of a moderate concentration of cocaine on the DA D(2L)R, that results in enhanced agonist recognition, G protein-coupling and an altered conformational state of D(2)R homodimers and A(2A)R-D(2)R heterodimers.
A number of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are currently under consideration as potential therapeutic targets for drugs acting in the central nervous system (CNS). Attempts to discover new medications have operated under the assumption that GPCRs are monomers and that a specific drug activates one single receptor coupled to one single signal transduction mechanism. In the neuronal membrane, GPCRs are now known to be arranged into homo- and hetero-oligomers; drugs acting on a single receptor within a specific heteromer context are thought to induce a particular downstream signaling. However, there is recent evidence showing that heteromer-tailored drugs can be designed that display different affinities for a given receptor depending on the receptor partners contained within the heteromer. It can therefore be predicted that customized drugs targeting a specific receptor heteromer in the CNS might improve safety and efficacy for their therapeutic targets. Finally, it will be important to identify receptor heteromers that are involved in the pathogenesis of diseases, such as the recently discovered dopamine D?-D? receptor heteromer, which might play a key role in L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in Parkinsons disease.
Defensins are natural endogenous antimicrobial peptides with potent anti-HIV activity and immuno-modulatory effects. We recently demonstrated that immature dendritic cells (DC) produce alpha-defensins1-3 and that alpha-defensins1-3 modulate DC generation and maturation. Since DC-HIV interaction plays a critical role during the first steps of HIV infection, we investigated the possible impact of alpha-defensins1-3 production by DC on disease progression.
The indoloquinolizidine-peptide 28 [(3S,12bR)-N-((S)-1-((S)-1-((S)-2-carbamoylpyrrolidin-1-yl)-3-(4-fluorophenyl)-1-oxopropan-2-ylamino)-4-cyclohexyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1,2,3,4,6,7,12, 12b-octahydroindolo[2,3-a]quinolizine-3-carboxamide], a trans-indoloquinolizidine-peptide hybrid obtained by a combinatorial approach, behaved as an orthosteric ligand of all dopamine D(2)-like receptors (D(2), D(3), and D(4)) and dopamine D(5) receptors, but as a negative allosteric modulator of agonist and antagonist binding to striatal dopamine D(1) receptors. Indoloquinolizidine-peptide 28 induced a concentration-dependent hyperbolic increase in the antagonist apparent equilibrium dissociation constant values and altered the dissociation kinetics of dopamine D(1) receptor antagonists. The negative allosteric modulation was also found when agonist binding to D(1) receptors was assayed. Indoloquinolizidine-peptide 28 was a weak ago-allosteric modulator but markedly led to a decreased potency without decreasing the maximum partial/full agonist-mediated effect on cAMP levels. Compounds able to decrease the potency while preserving the efficacy of D(1) receptor agonists are promising for exploration in psychotic pathologies.
Although homo- and heterodimerization are reported for some chemokine receptors, it remains unclear whether these functional states are in dynamic equilibrium and how receptor/ligand levels influence oligomerization. In human neutrophils and in cell lines that coexpress the chemokine receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2, we used fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques to show that these two receptors form homo- and heterodimers. Receptor expression and ligand activation were found to regulate the balance between these complexes, adapting the response to changes in the milieu. CXCL8, a ligand for both receptors, alters heterodimeric complexes, whereas it stabilizes homodimers and promotes receptor internalization. Oligomerization of receptors, together with the regulation of their expression and desensitization, could thus contribute to the fine control of chemokine functions.
Metabotropic receptors for neurotransmitters on the plasma membrane of neurons are forming homo- hetero- dimers and even homo- or hetero-oligomers. Neurotransmission has been studied assuming that these G-protein-coupled receptors were monomers. Then, on considering receptor dimers, we are entering a new era for the understanding how neurotransmitter receptors decode signals originating at the nervous system. At the moment it is becoming clear that receptor homo and hetero-oligomers provide signaling diversity, help to understand synaptic plasticity and open new therapeutic potential as targets for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.
The adenosine A(2A)-dopamine D(2) receptor heteromer is one of the most studied receptor heteromers. It has important implications for basal ganglia function and pathology. Recent studies using Bioluminescence and Sequential Resonance Energy Transfer techniques shed light on the role of Ca(2+) in the modulation of the quaternary structure of the A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromer, which was found to depend on the binding of calmodulin (CaM) to the carboxy-terminus of the A(2A) receptor in the A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromer. Importantly, the changes in quaternary structure correlate with changes in function. A Ca(2+)/CaM-dependent modulation of MAPK signaling upon agonist treatment could be observed in cells expressing A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromers. These studies provide a first example of a Ca(2+)-mediated modulation of the quaternary structure and function of a receptor heteromer.
Adenosine A(2A) (A(2A)R) and dopamine D(2) (D(2)R) receptors mediate the antagonism between adenosinergic and dopaminergic transmission in striatopallidal GABAergic neurons and are pharmacological targets for the treatment of Parkinsons disease. Here, a family of heterobivalent ligands containing a D(2)R agonist and an A(2A)R antagonist linked through a spacer of variable size was designed and synthesized to study A(2A)R-D(2)R heteromers. Bivalent ligands with shorter linkers bound to D(2)R or A(2A)R with higher affinity than the corresponding monovalent controls in membranes from brain striatum and from cells coexpressing both receptors. In contrast, no differences in affinity of bivalent versus monovalent ligands were detected in experiments using membranes from cells expressing only one receptor. These findings indicate the existence of A(2A)R-D(2)R heteromers and of a simultaneous interaction of heterobivalent ligands with both receptors. The cooperative effect derived from the simultaneous interaction suggests the occurrence of A(2A)R-D(2)R heteromers in cotransfected cells and in brain striatum. The dopamine/adenosine bivalent action could constitute a novel concept in Parkinsons disease pharmacotherapy.
Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors mediate in part the CNS effects of glutamate. These receptors interact with a large array of intracellular proteins in which the final role is to regulate receptor function. Here, using co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down experiments we showed a close and specific interaction between mGlu(5) receptor and NECAB2 in both transfected human embryonic kidney cells and rat hippocampus. Interestingly, in pull-down experiments increasing concentrations of calcium drastically reduced the ability of these two proteins to interact, suggesting that NECAB2 binds to mGlu(5) receptor in a calcium-regulated manner. Immunoelectron microscopy detection of NECAB2 and mGlu(5) receptor in the rat hippocampal formation indicated that both proteins are codistributed in the same subcellular compartment of pyramidal cells. In addition, the NECAB2/mGlu(5) receptor interaction regulated mGlu(5b)-mediated activation of both inositol phosphate accumulation and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Overall, these findings indicate that NECAB2 by its physical interaction with mGlu(5b) receptor modulates receptor function.
As host immunological defenses are impaired during HIV infection, it is difficult to elicit good responses when attempting to develop therapeutic vaccines against HIV. To try to solve this situation, adjuvants, particularly cytokines, are currently under evaluation. Owing to the fact that adenosine deaminase (ADA) is a member of the family of growth factor with deaminase activity, we tested whether it could improve immune responses in the development of HIV dendritic-cell-based therapeutic vaccines. A co-culture model approach has been used to test the usefulness of ADA as adjuvant. Monocyte-derived dendritic cells from HIV-infected patients were pulsed with inactivated HIV, matured and co-cultured with autologous T cells. Addition of ADA to the co-cultures resulted in enhanced CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell proliferation and robust ADA-induced increase in cytokine production (IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-6). As IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-6 promote the Th1 versus Th2 phenotype and improve T helper proliferation responses and antigen-specific CTL responses ADA may be considered a promising candidate for therapeutic vaccine adjuvant.
The Ca(2+)-binding protein calmodulin (CaM) has been shown to bind directly to cytoplasmic domains of some G protein-coupled receptors, including the dopamine D(2) receptor. CaM binds to the N-terminal portion of the long third intracellular loop of the D(2) receptor, within an Arg-rich epitope that is also involved in the binding to G(i/o) proteins and to the adenosine A(2A) receptor, with the formation of A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromers. In the present work, by using proteomics and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) techniques, we provide evidence for the binding of CaM to the A(2A) receptor. By using BRET and sequential resonance energy transfer techniques, evidence was obtained for CaM-A(2A)-D(2) receptor oligomerization. BRET competition experiments indicated that, in the A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromer, CaM binds preferentially to a proximal C terminus epitope of the A(2A) receptor. Furthermore, Ca(2+) was found to induce conformational changes in the CaM-A(2A)-D(2) receptor oligomer and to selectively modulate A(2A) and D(2) receptor-mediated MAPK signaling in the A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromer. These results may have implications for basal ganglia disorders, since A(2A)-D(2) receptor heteromers are being considered as a target for anti-parkinsonian agents.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are targeted by many therapeutic drugs marketed to fight against a variety of diseases. Selection of novel lead compounds are based on pharmacological parameters obtained assuming that GPCR are monomers. However, many GPCR are expressed as dimers/oligomers. Therefore, drug development may consider GPCR as homo- and hetero-oligomers. A two-state dimer receptor model is now available to understand GPCR operation and to interpret data obtained from drugs interacting with dimers, and even from mixtures of monomers and dimers. Heteromers are distinct entities and therefore a given drug is expected to have different affinities and different efficacies depending on the heteromer. All these concepts would lead to broaden the therapeutic potential of drugs targeting GPCRs, including receptor heteromer-selective drugs with a lower incidence of side effects, or to identify novel pharmacological profiles using cell models expressing receptor heteromers.
There are few published data from real-world clinical experience with miglustat (Zavesca), an oral inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase, in type 1 Gaucher disease. We report data from a prospective, open-label investigational study that evaluated substrate reduction therapy with miglustat 100 mg t.i.d. as a maintenance therapy in patients with Type 1 Gaucher disease who had been switched from previous enzyme replacement therapy. Long-term data on changes in organ size, blood counts, disease severity bio-markers, bone marrow infiltration, overall clinical status and safety/tolerability were analyzed from 28 patients with Type 1 Gaucher disease who were attending routine clinic visits. Assessments were performed at six, 12, 24, 36 and 48 months of therapy. Disease severity biomarkers improved up to 48 months after initiation of miglustat, while other disease parameters remained stable. Miglustat showed an acceptable profile of safety and tolerability throughout treatment. In conclusion, miglustat is an effective therapy for the long-term maintenance of patients with Type 1 Gaucher disease previously stabilized with enzyme replacement therapy.
Multiple-specificity ligands are considered promising pharmacological tools that may show higher efficacy in the treatment of diseases for which the modulation of a single target is therapeutically inadequate. We prepared a set of novel ligands for D1 and D2 dopamine receptors by combining two indolo[2,3-a]quinolizidine scaffolds with various tripeptide moieties. The binding and functional properties of these molecules were determined by radioligand binding studies in brain striatum membranes and by intracellular cAMP production assays in cells expressing different dopamine receptor subtypes. Some indoloquinolizidine-peptide hybrids, mainly with the trans configuration, showed dual agonist activity at both D1 and D2 dopamine receptors and may therefore be useful for testing the therapeutic potential of multivalent drugs on these targets.
Many G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are expressed on the plasma membrane as dimers. Since drug binding data are currently fitted using equations developed for monomeric receptors, the interpretation of the pharmacological data are equivocal in many cases. As reported here, GPCR dimer models account for changes in competition curve shape as a function of the radioligand concentration used, something that cannot be explained by monomeric receptor models. Macroscopic equilibrium dissociation constants for the agonist and homotropic cooperativity index reflecting the intramolecular communication within the dopamine D1 or adenosine A2A receptor homodimer as well as hybrid equilibrium dissociation constant, which reflects the antagonist/agonist modulation may be calculated by fitting binding data from antagonist/agonist competition experiments to equations developed from dimer receptor models. Comparing fitting the data by assuming a classical monomeric receptor model or a dimer model, it is shown that dimer receptor models provide more clues useful in drug discovery than monomer-based models.
Functional interactions between the G protein-coupled dopamine D1 and histamine H3 receptors have been described in the brain. In the present study we investigated the existence of D1-H3 receptor heteromers and their biochemical characteristics.
It is becoming accepted that G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) arrange in the neuronal membrane into homo- and hetero-oligomers and, therefore, these complexes mediate neurotransmission. New models are then needed to understand GPCR operation and predict the consequences of GPCR homo- or hetero-oligomerization. Although there is not any unifying theory addressing how hetero-oligomerization occurs, recent models have been devised to understand the thermodynamics of binding of neurotransmitters to GPCRs and the allosteric protomer-protomer interactions involved in neurotransmitter-mediated activation of GPCRs. Although a model to predict how signalling is produced via homo- or hetero-oligomerization is lacking, functional data show that receptor oligomers exist to produce a variety of effects in neurons in response to a single neurotransmitter.
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