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      Expression, Purification and Characterization of the Human Cannabinoid 1 Receptor

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          Abstract

          The human cannabinoid 1 receptor (hCB1) is involved in numerous physiological processes and therefore provides a wide scope of potential therapeutic opportunities to treat maladies such as obesity, cardio-metabolic disorders, substance abuse, neuropathic pain, and multiple sclerosis. Structure-based drug design using the current knowledge of the hCB1 receptor binding site is limited and requires purified active protein. Heterologous expression and purification of functional hCB1 has been the bottleneck for ligand binding structural studies using biophysical methods such as mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography and NMR. We constructed several plasmids for in-cell or in vitro Escherichia coli ( E. coli) based expression of truncated and stabilized hCB1 receptor (hΔCB1 and hΔCB1 T4L) variants and evaluated their competency to bind the CP-55,940 ligand. MALDI-TOF MS analysis of in vitro expressed and purified hΔCB1 T4Lhis6 variants, following trypsin digestion, generated ~80% of the receptor sequence coverage. Our data demonstrate the feasibility of a cell-free expression system as a promising part of the strategy for the elucidation of ligand binding sites of the hCB1 receptor using a “Ligand Assisted Protein Structure” (LAPS) approach.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Determination and characterization of a cannabinoid receptor in rat brain.

          The determination and characterization of a cannabinoid receptor from brain are reported. A biologically active bicyclic cannabinoid analgetic CP-55,940 was tritium-labeled to high specific activity. Conditions for binding to rat brain P2 membranes and synaptosomes were established. The pH optimum was between 7 and 8, and specific binding could be eliminated by heating the membranes to 60 degrees. Binding to the P2 membranes was linear within the range of 10 to 50 micrograms of protein/ml. Specific binding (defined as total binding displaced by 1 microM delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC) or 100 nM desacetyllevonantradol) was saturable. The Kd determined from Scatchard analysis was 133 pM, and the Bmax for rat cortical P2 membranes was 1.85 pmol/mg of protein. The Hill coefficient for [3H]CP-55,940 approximated 1, indicating that, under the conditions of assay, a single class of binding sites was determined that did not exhibit cooperativity. The binding was rapid (kon approximately 2.6 x 10(-4) pM-1 min-1) and reversible (Koff approximately 0.016 min-1) and (koff' greater than 0.06 min-1). The two Kd values estimated from the kinetic constants approximately 55 pM and exceeded 200 pM, respectively. The binding of the agonist ligand [3H]CP-55,940 was decreased by the nonhydrolyzable GTP analog guanylylimidodiphosphate. The guanine nucleotide induced a more rapid dissociation of the ligand from the binding site, consistent with an allosteric regulation of the putative receptor by a G protein. The binding was also sensitive to MgCl2 and CaCl2. Binding of [3H]CP-55,940 was displaced by cannabinoid drugs in the following order of potency: CP-55,940 greater than or equal to desacetyllevonantradol greater than 11-OH-delta 9-THC = delta 9-THC greater than cannabinol. Cannabidiol and cannabigerol displaced [3H]CP-55,940 by less than 50% at 1 microM concentrations. The (-)-isomer of CP-55,940 displaced with 50-fold greater potency than the (+)-isomer. This pharmacology is comparable to both the inhibition of adenylate cyclase in vitro and the analgetic activity of these compounds in vivo. The criteria for a high affinity, stereoselective, pharmacologically distinct cannabinoid receptor in brain tissue have been fulfilled.
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            Crystal Structure of the Human Cannabinoid Receptor CB1.

            Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is the principal target of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical from Cannabis sativa with a wide range of therapeutic applications and a long history of recreational use. CB1 is activated by endocannabinoids and is a promising therapeutic target for pain management, inflammation, obesity, and substance abuse disorders. Here, we present the 2.8 Å crystal structure of human CB1 in complex with AM6538, a stabilizing antagonist, synthesized and characterized for this structural study. The structure of the CB1-AM6538 complex reveals key features of the receptor and critical interactions for antagonist binding. In combination with functional studies and molecular modeling, the structure provides insight into the binding mode of naturally occurring CB1 ligands, such as THC, and synthetic cannabinoids. This enhances our understanding of the molecular basis for the physiological functions of CB1 and provides new opportunities for the design of next-generation CB1-targeting pharmaceuticals.
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              High-resolution crystal structure of the human CB1 cannabinoid receptor

              The human cannabinoid G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) CB1 and CB2 mediate the functional responses to the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), as well as the widely consumed plant (phyto)cannabinoid Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 1 . The cannabinoid receptors have been the targets of intensive drug discovery efforts due to the therapeutic potential of modulators for controlling pain 2 , epilepsy 3 , obesity 4 , and other maladies. While much progress has recently been made in understanding the biophysical properties of GPCRs, investigations of the molecular mechanisms of the cannabinoids and their receptors have lacked high-resolution structural data. We used GPCR engineering and lipidic cubic phase (LCP) crystallization to determine the structure of the human CB1 receptor bound to the inhibitor taranabant at 2.6 Å resolution. CB1's extracellular surface, including the highly conserved membrane-proximal amino-terminal (N-terminal) region, is distinct from other lipid-activated GPCRs and forms a critical part of the ligand binding pocket. Docking studies further demonstrate how this same pocket may accommodate the cannabinoid agonist THC. Our CB1 structure provides an atomic framework for studying cannabinoid receptor function, and will aid the design and optimization of cannabinoid system modulators for therapeutic ends.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                a.makriyannis@neu.edu
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                13 February 2018
                13 February 2018
                2018
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2173 3359, GRID grid.261112.7, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, , Northeastern University, ; Boston, MA 02115 USA
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2173 3359, GRID grid.261112.7, Center for Drug Discovery, , Northeastern University, ; Boston, MA 02115 USA
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2173 3359, GRID grid.261112.7, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, , Northeastern University, ; Boston, MA 02115 USA
                Article
                19749
                10.1038/s41598-018-19749-5
                5811539
                29440756
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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