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Deciphering the Agonist Binding Mechanism to the Adenosine A1 Receptor

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posted on 21.01.2021, 07:45 by Giuseppe Deganutti, Kerry Barkan, Barbara Preti, Michele Leuenberger, Mark Wall, Bruno G. Frenguelli, Martin Lochner, Graham Ladds, Christopher A. Reynolds
Despite being among the most characterized G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), adenosine receptors (ARs) have always been a difficult target in drug design. To date, no agonist other than the natural effector and the diagnostic regadenoson has been approved for human use. Recently, the structure of the adenosine A1 receptor (A1R) was determined in the active, Gi protein complexed state; this has important repercussions for structure-based drug design. Here, we employed supervised molecular dynamics simulations and mutagenesis experiments to extend the structural knowledge of the binding of selective agonists to A1R. Our results identify new residues involved in the association and dissociation pathway, they suggest the binding mode of N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA) related ligands, and they highlight the dramatic effect that chemical modifications can have on the overall binding mechanism, paving the way for the rational development of a structure-kinetics relationship of A1R agonists.

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