Characterization of a novel CRAC inhibitor that potently blocks human T cell activation and effector functions

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Abstract

Store operated calcium entry (SOCE) downstream of T cell receptor (TCR) activation in T lymphocytes has been shown to be mediated mainly through the Calcium Release Activated Calcium (CRAC) channel. Here, we compared the effects of a novel, potent and selective CRAC current inhibitor, 2,6-Difluoro-N-{5-[4-methyl-1-(5-methyl-thiazol-2-yl)-1,2,5,6-tetrahydro-pyridin-3-yl]-pyrazin-2-yl}-benzamide (RO2959), on T cell effector functions with that of a previously reported CRAC channel inhibitor, YM-58483, and a calcineurin inhibitor Cyclosporin A (CsA). Using both electrophysiological and calcium-based fluorescence measurements, we showed that RO2959 is a potent SOCE inhibitor that blocked an IP3-dependent current in CRAC-expressing RBL-2H3 cells and CHO cells stably expressing human Orai1 and Stim1, as well as SOCE in human primary CD4+ T cells triggered by either TCR stimulation or thapsigargin treatment. Furthermore, we demonstrated that RO2959 completely inhibited cytokine production as well as T cell proliferation mediated by TCR stimulation or MLR (mixed lymphocyte reaction). Lastly, we showed by gene expression array analysis that RO2959 potently blocked TCR triggered gene expression and T cell functional pathways similar to CsA and another calcineurin inhibitor FK506. Thus, both from a functional and transcriptional level, our data provide evidence that RO2959 is a novel and selective CRAC current inhibitor that potently inhibits human T cell functions.

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