Études structure-fonction par modélisation moléculaire et mutagénèse dirigée de cibles thérapeutiques potentielles impliquées dans la régulation de l'équilibre hydrique et des fonctions cardiovasculaires

Abstract : The doctoral work was divided in two parts, one on the structure-function studies of aminopeptidase A, and the second one, on those of the apelin receptor. I/Aminopeptidase A (APA) is a membrane bound monozinc aminopeptidase which generates, in the brain, angiotensin (Ang) III from Ang II. Ang III is one of the main effector peptides of the brain renin-angiotensin system, which exerts a tonic stimulatory action on the control of blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Thus, the blockade of brain APA by a specific and selective inhibitor, EC33 or its prodrug, RB150, normalizes blood pressure in two animal models of arterial hypertension (HTA). APA constitutes a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HTA that justifies the development of more potent and selective APA inhibitors than EC33, with enhanced pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles when compared to RB150. With this aim, we built a three dimensional (3D) model of APA based on the recently published crystal structure of human APA. We validated this model by structure-function studies combining molecular modeling and site-directed mutagenesis demonstrating the crucial role of one residue in the S1 subsite responsible for substrate specificity of APA for N-terminal acidic amino-acid residues and two other residues constituting the S2' subsite of APA involved in the binding of the P2' acidic residue of tripeptidic inhibitors, previously developed in the laboratory. II/Apelin is the endogenous ligand of the human orphan receptor named APJ (ApelinR), a G protein-coupled receptor. Apelin and ApelinR are involved in the control of body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular functions. ApelinR constitutes a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of heart failure and water retentions. Given that apelin half-life in the blood circulation is in the minute range, we aimed to develop potent metabolically stable apelin analogs.. In this context, it is necessary to understand how apelin binds to ApelinR and how it is activated. To do so, we build a 3D model of ApelinR based on the crystal structure of the chemokine receptor, CXCR4. We validated this model by structure-function studies by molecular modeling and site-directed mutagenesis. We showed that apelin interacts with the receptor through interactions between the basic residues of the peptide and the acidic residues of the ApelinR, located in the extracellular loops. ,We then developed metabolically stable apelin-17 (K17F) analogs following two different strategies. First, we substituted each residue of K17F by its D-isomer or a synthetic amino-acid. Secondly, we added a fluoroalkyl chain at the N-terminal part of K17F. These two strategies allowed to significantly improve plasma half-life of the modified peptides for several hours without modifying their pharmacological properties as compared to K17F. Two apelin metabolically stable analogs, P92 and LIT01-196, were found to have significantly higher in vivo activity than K17F with a strong capacity to decrease blood pressure and to inhibit vasopressin release in the blood stream inducing an increased aqueous diuresis. These new validated 3D models will be now used to perform in silico screening of virtual chemical libraries to discover new APA inhibitors and ApelinR agonists that could ultimately lead to new drug candidates. These compounds could be useful for the treatment of HTA and heart failure.
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Pierre Couvineau. Études structure-fonction par modélisation moléculaire et mutagénèse dirigée de cibles thérapeutiques potentielles impliquées dans la régulation de l'équilibre hydrique et des fonctions cardiovasculaires. Biochimie [q-bio.BM]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB133⟩. ⟨tel-01978226⟩

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