Enhanced Potency of Nucleotide−Dendrimer Conjugates as Agonists of the P2Y14 Receptor: Multivalent Effect in G Protein-Coupled Receptor Recognition

The P2Y14 receptor is a G protein-coupled receptor activated by uridine-5′-diphosphoglucose and other nucleotide sugars that modulates immune function. Covalent conjugation of P2Y14 receptor agonists to PAMAM (polyamidoamine) dendrimers enhanced pharmacological activity. Uridine-5′-diphosphoglucuronic acid (UDPGA) and its ethylenediamine adduct were suitable functionalized congeners for coupling to several generations (G2.5−6) of dendrimers (both terminal carboxy and amino). Prosthetic groups, including biotin for avidin complexation, a chelating group for metal complexation (and eventual magnetic resonance imaging), and a fluorescent moiety, also were attached with the eventual goals of molecular detection and characterization of the P2Y14 receptor. The activities of conjugates were assayed in HEK293 cells stably expressing the human P2Y14 receptor. A G3 PAMAM conjugate containing 20 bound nucleotide moieties (UDPGA) was 100-fold more potent (EC50 2.4 nM) than the native agonist uridine-5′-diphosphoglucose. A molecular model of this conjugate docked in the human P2Y14 receptor showed that the nucleotide-substituted branches could extend far beyond the dimensions of the receptor and be available for multivalent docking to receptor aggregates. Larger dendrimer carriers and greater loading favored higher potency. A similar conjugate of G6 with 147 out of 256 amino groups substituted with UDPGA displayed an EC50 value of 0.8 nM. Thus, biological activity was either retained or dramatically enhanced in the multivalent dendrimer conjugates in comparison with monomeric P2Y14 receptor agonists, depending on size, degree of substitution, terminal functionality, and attached prosthetic groups.