Different efficacy of adenosine and NECA derivatives at the human A3 adenosine receptor: Insight into the receptor activation switch


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Abstract

Graphical abstractA3 Adenosine receptors are promising drug targets for a number of diseases and intense efforts are dedicated to develop selective agonists and antagonists of these receptors. A series of adenosine derivatives with 2-(ar)-alkynyl chains, with high affinity and different degrees of selectivity for human A3 adenosine receptors was tested for the ability to inhibit forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase. All these derivatives are partial agonists at A3 adenosine receptors; their efficacy is not significantly modified by the introduction of small alkyl substituents in the N6-position. In contrast, the adenosine-5′-N-ethyluronamide (NECA) analogs of 2-(ar)-alkynyladenosine derivatives are full A3 agonists. Molecular modeling analyses were performed considering both the conformational behavior of the ligands and the impact of 2- and 5′-substituents on ligand–target interaction. The results suggest an explanation for the different agonistic behavior of adenosine and NECA derivatives, respectively. A sub-pocket of the binding site was analyzed as a crucial interaction domain for receptor activation.

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