European journal of medicinal chemistry

Mutational mapping of the transmembrane binding site of the G-protein coupled receptor TGR5 and binding mode prediction of TGR5 agonists.

PMID 26435512


TGR5 (Gpbar-1, M-Bar) is a class A G-protein coupled bile acid-sensing receptor predominately expressed in brain, liver and gastrointestinal tract, and a promising drug target for the treatment of metabolic disorders. Due to the lack of a crystal structure of TGR5, the development of TGR5 agonists has been guided by ligand-based approaches so far. Three binding mode models of bile acid derivatives have been presented recently. However, they differ from one another in terms of overall orientation or with respect to the location and interactions of the cholane scaffold, or cannot explain all results from mutagenesis experiments. Here, we present an extended binding mode model based on an iterative and integrated computational and biological approach. An alignment of 68 TGR5 agonists based on this binding mode leads to a significant and good structure-based 3D QSAR model, which constitutes the most comprehensive structure-based 3D-QSAR study of TGR5 agonists undertaken so far and suggests that the binding mode model is a close representation of the "true" binding mode. The binding mode model is further substantiated in that effects predicted for eight mutations in the binding site agree with experimental analyses on the impact of these TGR5 variants on receptor activity. In the binding mode, the hydrophobic cholane scaffold of taurolithocholate orients towards the interior of the orthosteric binding site such that rings A and B are in contact with TM5 and TM6, the taurine side chain orients towards the extracellular opening of the binding site and forms a salt bridge with R79(EL1), and the 3-hydroxyl group forms hydrogen bonds with E169(5.44) and Y240(6.51). The binding mode thus differs in important aspects from the ones recently presented. These results are highly relevant for the development of novel, more potent agonists of TGR5 and should be a valuable starting point for the development of TGR5 antagonists, which could show antiproliferative effects in tumor cells.