Probing the Mechanism of Receptor Activity-Modifying Protein Modulation of GPCR Ligand Selectivity through Rational Design of Potent Adrenomedullin and Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Antagonists

Jason M Booe, Margaret L Warner, Amanda M Roehrkasse, Debbie L Hay, Augen A Pioszak
Molecular Pharmacology 2018, 93 (4): 355-367
Binding of the vasodilator peptides adrenomedullin (AM) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) to the class B G protein-coupled receptor calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CLR) is modulated by receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs). RAMP1 favors CGRP, whereas RAMP2 and RAMP3 favor AM. Crystal structures of peptide-bound RAMP1/2-CLR extracellular domain (ECD) heterodimers suggested RAMPs alter ligand preference through direct peptide contacts and allosteric modulation of CLR. Here, we probed this dual mechanism through rational structure-guided design of AM and CGRP antagonist variants. Variants were characterized for binding to purified RAMP1/2-CLR ECD and for antagonism of the full-length CGRP (RAMP1:CLR), AM1 (RAMP2:CLR), and AM2 (RAMP3:CLR) receptors. Short nanomolar affinity AM(37-52) and CGRP(27-37) variants were obtained through substitutions including AM S45W/Q50W and CGRP K35W/A36S designed to stabilize their β -turn. K46L and Y52F substitutions designed to exploit RAMP allosteric effects and direct peptide contacts, respectively, yielded AM variants with selectivity for the CGRP receptor over the AM1 receptor. AM(37-52) S45W/K46L/Q50W/Y52F exhibited nanomolar potency at the CGRP receptor and micromolar potency at AM1 A 2.8-Å resolution crystal structure of this variant bound to the RAMP1-CLR ECD confirmed that it bound as designed. CGRP(27-37) N31D/S34P/K35W/A36S exhibited potency and selectivity comparable to the traditional antagonist CGRP(8-37). Giving this variant the ability to contact RAMP2 through the F37Y substitution increased affinity for AM1 , but it still preferred the CGRP receptor. These potent peptide antagonists with altered selectivity inform the development of AM/CGRP-based pharmacological tools and support the hypothesis that RAMPs alter CLR ligand selectivity through allosteric effects and direct peptide contacts.

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