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Design of cannabinergic subtype selective ligands is challenging because of high sequence and structural similarities of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). We hypothesize that the subtype selectivity of designed selective ligands can be explained by the ligand binding to the conformationally distinct states between cannabinoid receptors. Analysis of ~ 700 μs of unbiased simulations using Markov state models and VAMPnets identifies the similarities and distinctions between the activation mechanism of both receptors. Structural and dynamic comparisons of metastable intermediate states allow us to observe the distinction in the binding pocket volume change during CB1 and CB2 activation. Docking analysis reveals that only a few of the intermediate metastable states of CB1 show high affinity towards CB2 selective agonists. In contrast, all the CB2 metastable states show a similar affinity for these agonists. These results mechanistically explain the subtype selectivity of these agonists by deciphering the activation mechanism of cannabinoid receptors. © 2023. The Author(s).


Soumajit Dutta, Diwakar Shukla. Distinct activation mechanisms regulate subtype selectivity of Cannabinoid receptors. Communications biology. 2023 May 05;6(1):485

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PMID: 37147497

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