Identification of a novel small-molecule agonist for human G protein-coupled receptor 3.

Authors: Ye C, Zhang Z, Wang Z, Hua Q, Zhang R, Xie X.
Publisher/Year: J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 349(3):437-43.
Pub Med ID/Journal ID: PMID:24633425


G protein-coupled receptor 3 (GPR3) is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) predominantly expressed in mammalian brain and oocytes. GPR3 plays important roles in these two organs and is known as a Gαs-coupled receptor-activated constitutively in cells. However, the signal transduction pathway and pharmacological function of GPR3 remain unclear because of the lack of a specific ligand. By use of a human embryonic kidney 293 cell line stably expressing FLAG-GPR3-green fluorescent protein, a chemical screening for GPR3 ligands was performed using homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence cAMP assay. Diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI) was identified as a novel agonist of GPR3 with weak or no cross-reactivity with other GPCRs. DPI was further characterized to activate several GPR3-mediated signal transduction pathways, including Ca(2+) mobilization, cAMP accumulation, membrane recruitment of β-arrestin2, and receptor desensitization. Parallel studies revealed that the activity of DPI is much more pronounced than sphingosine 1-phosphate, a previously reported GPR3 agonist. Our study identified a novel and specific agonist of GPR3, which provides a useful tool for further study of this orphan GPCR.