Structure-based discovery of novel US28 small molecule ligands with different modes of action

Michael Lückmann, Roxana-Maria Amarandi, Natalia Papargyri, Mette H. Jakobsen, Elisabeth Christiansen, Lars J. Jensen, Aurel Pui, Thue W. Schwartz, Mette M. Rosenkilde, Thomas M. Frimurer

The human cytomegalovirus-encoded G protein-coupled receptor US28 is a constitutively active receptor, which can recognize various chemokines. Despite the recent determination of its 2.9 Å crystal structure, potent and US28-specific tool compounds are still scarce. Here, we used structural information from a refined US28:VUF2274 complex for virtual screening of >12 million commercially available small molecule compounds. Using a combined receptor- and ligand-based approach, we tested 98 of the top 0.1% ranked compounds, revealing novel chemotypes as compared to the ~1.45 million known ligands in the ChEMBL database. Two compounds were confirmed as agonist and inverse agonist, respectively, in both IP accumulation and Ca2+mobilization assays. The screening setup presented in this work is computationally inexpensive and therefore particularly useful in an academic setting as it enables simultaneous testing in binding as well as in different functional assays and/or species without actual chemical synthesis.

The LC/MS analysis was carried out using Advion Expression® CMS.