Characterization of imidazopyridine compounds as negative allosteric modulators of proton-sensing GPR4 in extracellular acidification-induced responses

Ayaka Tobo, Masayuki Tobo, Takashi Nakakura, Masashi Ebara, Hideaki Tomura, Chihiro Mogi, Dong Soon Im, Naoya Murata, Atsushi Kuwabara, Saki Ito, Hayato Fukuda, Mitsuhiro Arisawa, Satoshi Shuto, Michio Nakaya, Hitoshi Kurose, Koichi Sato, Fumikazu Okajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


G protein-coupled receptor 4 (GPR4), previously proposed as the receptor for sphingosylphosphorylcholine, has recently been identified as the proton-sensing G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) coupling to multiple intracellular signaling pathways, including the Gs protein/cAMP and G13 protein/Rho. In the present study, we characterized some imidazopyridine compounds as GPR4 modulators that modify GPR4 receptor function. In the cells that express proton-sensing GPCRs, including GPR4, OGR1, TDAG8, and G2A, extracellular acidification stimulates serum responsive element (SRE)-driven transcriptional activity, which has been shown to reflect Rho activity, with different proton sensitivities. Imidazopyridine compounds inhibited the moderately acidic pH-induced SRE activity only in GPR4-expressing cells. Acidic pH-stimulated cAMP accumulation, mRNA expression of inflammatory genes, and GPR4 internalization within GPR4-expressing cells were all inhibited by the GPR4 modulator. We further compared the inhibition property of the imidazopyridine compound with psychosine, which has been shown to selectively inhibit actions induced by proton-sensing GPCRs, including GPR4. In the GPR4 mutant, in which certain histidine residues were mutated to phenylalanine, proton sensitivity was significantly shifted to the right, and psychosine failed to further inhibit acidic pH-induced SRE activation. On the other hand, the imidazopyridine compound almost completely inhibited acidic pH-induced action in mutant GPR4. We conclude that some imidazopyridine compounds show specificity to GPR4 as negative allosteric modulators with a different action mode from psychosine, an antagonist susceptible to histidine residues, and are useful for characterizing GPR4-mediated acidic pH-induced biological actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0129334
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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