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The P2Y12-receptor plays a prominent role in ADP-induced platelet aggregation. In the present study, we searched for amino acid residues involved in ligand recognition of the human P2Y12-receptor. Wild-type or mutated receptors were expressed in 1321N1 astrocytoma cells and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. There were no major differences in cellular expression of the constructs. Cellular cAMP production and cAMP response element (CRE)-dependent luciferase expression was increased by isoproterenol (astrocytoma cells) or forskolin (CHO cells). In cells expressing wild-type receptors, R256K or S101A mutant constructs, 2-methylthio-ADP inhibited the induced cAMP production with IC50 concentrations of about 0.3 nM. In cells expressing R256A constructs, the IC50 concentration amounted to 25 nM. In cells expressing H253A/R256A, Y259D and K280A constructs, 2-methylthio-ADP failed to affect the cellular cAMP production. Moreover, in cells expressing Y259D and K280A constructs, 2-methylthio-ADP did also not change the forskolin-induced CRE-dependent luciferase expression and caused only small increases in the serum response element-dependent luciferase expression. The antagonist cangrelor had similar potencies at wild-type receptors and R256A constructs (apparent pKB-value at wild-type receptors: 9.2). In contrast, reactive blue-2 had a lower potency at the R256A construct (apparent pKB-value at wild-type receptors: 7.6). In summary, the data indicate the involvement of Arg256, Tyr259 and, possibly, H253 (transmembrane region TM6) as well as Lys280 (TM7) in the function of the human P2Y12-receptor. Arg256 appears to play a role in the recognition of nucleotide agonists and the non-nucleotide antagonist reactive blue-2, but no role in the recognition of the nucleotide antagonist cangrelor.