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Guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) transduce extracellular signals received by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to intracellular signaling cascades. While GPCRs represent the largest class of drug targets, G protein inhibition has only recently been recognized as a novel strategy for treating complex diseases such as asthma, inflammation, and cancer. The structurally similar macrocyclic depsipeptides FR900359 (FR) and YM-254890 (YM) are potent selective inhibitors of the Gq subfamily of G proteins. FR and YM differ in two positions, FR being more lipophilic than YM. Both compounds are utilized as pharmacological tools to block Gq proteins in vitro and in vivo. However, no detailed characterization of FR and YM has been performed, which is a prerequisite for the compounds' translation into clinical application. Here, we performed a thorough study of both compounds' physicochemical, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacological properties. Chemical stability was high across a large range of pH values, with FR being somewhat more stable than YM. Oral bioavailability and brain penetration of both depsipeptides were low. FR showed lower plasma protein binding and was metabolized significantly faster than YM by human and mouse liver microsomes. FR accumulated in lung after chronic intratracheal or intraperitoneal application, while YM was more distributed to other organs. Most strikingly, the previously observed longer residence time of FR resulted in a significantly prolonged pharmacologic effect as compared to YM in a methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction mouse model. These results prove that changes within a molecule which seem marginal compared to its structural complexity can lead to crucial pharmacological differences. © 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.


Jonathan G Schlegel, Mariam Tahoun, Alexander Seidinger, Jan H Voss, Markus Kuschak, Stefan Kehraus, Marion Schneider, Michaela Matthey, Bernd K Fleischmann, Gabriele M König, Daniela Wenzel, Christa E Müller. Macrocyclic Gq Protein Inhibitors FR900359 and/or YM-254890-Fit for Translation? ACS pharmacology & translational science. 2021 Apr 09;4(2):888-897

PMID: 33860209

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