Fragment Screening of GPCRs Using Biophysical Methods: Identification of Ligands of the Adenosine A2A Receptor with Novel Biological Activity
Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) has proven a powerful method to develop novel drugs with excellent oral bioavailability against challenging pharmaceutical targets such as protein?protein interaction targets. Very recently the underlying biophysical techniques have begun to be successfully applied to membrane proteins. Here we show that novel, ligand efficient small molecules with a variety of biological activities can be found by screening a small fragment library using thermostabilized (StaR) G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and target immobilized NMR screening (TINS). Detergent-solubilized StaR adenosine A2A receptor was immobilized with retention of functionality, and a screen of 531 fragments was performed. Hits from the screen were thoroughly characterized for biochemical activity using the wild-type receptor. Both orthosteric and allosteric modulatory activity has been demonstrated in biochemical validation assays. Allosteric activity was confirmed in cell-based functional assays. The validated fragment hits make excellent starting points for a subsequent hit-to-lead elaboration program.