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Cardiac action of the first G protein biased small molecule apelin agonist.

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Read, C 
Fitzpatrick, CM 
Yang, P 
Kuc, RE 
Maguire, JJ 


Apelin peptide analogues displaying bias towards G protein signalling pathways have beneficial cardiovascular actions compared with the native peptide in humans in vivo. Our aim was to determine whether small molecule agonists could retain G protein bias. We have identified a biased small molecule, CMF-019, and characterised it in vitro and in vivo. In competition radioligand binding experiments in heart homogenates, CMF-019 bound to the human, rat and mouse apelin receptor with high affinity (pKi=8.58±0.04, 8.49±0.04 and 8.71±0.06 respectively). In cell-based functional assays, whereas, CMF-019 showed similar potency for the Gαi pathway to the endogenous agonist [Pyr(1)]apelin-13 (pD2=10.00±0.13 vs 9.34±0.15), in β-arrestin and internalisation assays it was less potent (pD2=6.65±0.15 vs 8.65±0.10 and pD2=6.16±0.21 vs 9.28±0.10 respectively). Analysis of these data demonstrated a bias of ∼400 for the Gαi over the β-arrestin pathway and ∼6000 over receptor internalisation. CMF-019 was tested for in vivo activity using intravenous injections into anaesthetised male Sprague-Dawley rats fitted with a pressure-volume catheter in the left ventricle. CMF-019 caused a significant increase in cardiac contractility of 606±112mmHg/s (p<0.001) at 500nmol. CMF-019 is the first biased small molecule identified at the apelin receptor and increases cardiac contractility in vivo. We have demonstrated that Gαi over β-arrestin/internalisation bias can be retained in a non-peptide analogue and predict that such bias will have the therapeutic benefit following chronic use. CMF-019 is suitable as a tool compound and provides the basis for design of biased agonists with improved pharmacokinetics for treatment of cardiovascular conditions such as pulmonary arterial hypertension.



Apelin, Biased agonism, Cardiovascular, G protein coupled receptor, In vivo

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Biochem Pharmacol

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Wellcome Trust (096822/Z/11/Z)
MRC (MC_PC_14116 v2)
British Heart Foundation (None)
British Heart Foundation [FS/14/59/31282]; Wellcome Trust [WT107715/Z/15/Z], Wellcome Trust Programme in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease [096822/Z/11/Z]; Medical Research Council [MRC MC PC 14116]; Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK; Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Biomedical Resources Grant University of Cambridge [099156/Z/12/Z]; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [EP/M506552/1]; Biomedical Health Research Centre, University of Leeds