Molecular pharmacology

Monepantel irreversibly binds to and opens Haemonchus contortus MPTL-1 and Caenorhabditis elegans ACR-20 receptors.

PMID 25352042


Monepantel is a recently developed anthelmintic with a novel mode of action. Parasitic nematodes with reduced sensitivity to monepantel have led to the identification of MPTL-1, a ligand-gated ion-channel subunit of the parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus, as a potential drug target. Homomeric MPTL-1 channels reconstituted in Xenopus oocytes are gated by µM concentrations of betaine and mM concentrations of choline. Measurement of reversal potentials indicated that the channel has a similar conductance for Na(+) and K(+) ions and does not permeate Ca(2+). Concentrations of monepantel (amino-acetonitrile derivative [AAD]-2225) >0.1 μM, but not its inactive enantiomer AAD-2224, induced channel opening in an irreversible manner. Currents elicited by monepantel alone were larger than the maximal current amplitudes achieved with betaine or choline, making monepantel a superagonist. Currents elicited by betaine or choline were allosterically potentiated by nM concentrations of monepantel and to a much smaller degree by AAD-2224. We have also reconstituted the Caenorhabditis elegans homomeric ACR-20 receptor in Xenopus oocytes. The acr-20 sequence has higher similarity to mptl-1 than acr-23, the primary target for monepantel mode of action in C. elegans. The ACR-20 channel is gated similarly as MPTL-1. Monepantel, but not AAD-2224, was able to induce channel opening in an irreversible manner at similar concentrations as for MPTL-1. Interestingly, the allosteric potentiation measured in the presence of betaine was much smaller than in MPTL-1 receptors. Together, these results establish the mode of action of monepantel in H. contortus and contribute to our understanding of the mode of action of this anthelmintic.

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Aminoacetonitrile, ≥98%