Novel fluorescent antagonist as a molecular probe in A3 adenosine receptor binding assays using flow cytometry

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The physiological role of the A3 adenosine receptor (AR) was explored in cardiac ischaemia, inflammatory diseases and cancer. We report a new fluorophore-conjugated human (h) A3AR antagonist for application to cell-based assays in ligand discovery and for receptor imaging. Fluorescent pyrazolo[4,3-e][1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidin-5-ylamine (pyrazolo-triazolo-pyrimidine, PTP) and triazolo[1,5-c]quinazolin-5-yl)amine (triazolo-quinazoline, TQ) AR antagonists were compared. A chain-extended and click-conjugated Alexa Fluor-488 TQ derivative (MRS5449) displayed a radioligand binding Ki value of 6.4 ± 2.5 nM in hA3AR-expressing CHO cell membranes. MRS5449 antagonized hA3AR agonist-induced inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation in a concentration-dependent manner (KB = 4.8 nM). Using flow cytometry (FCM), MRS5449 saturated hA3ARs with very high specific-to-nonspecific binding ratio with an equilibrium binding constant 5.15 nM, comparable to the Kd value of 6.65 nM calculated from kinetic experiments. Ki values of known AR antagonists in inhibition of MRS5449 binding in whole cell FCM were consistent with radioligand binding in membranes, but agonist binding was 5–20 fold weaker than obtained with agonist radioligand [125I]I-AB-MECA. Further binding analysis of MRS5549 suggested multiple agonist binding states of the A3AR. Molecular docking predicted binding modes of these fluorescent antagonists. Thus, MRS5449 is a useful tool for hA3AR characterization.

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