BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The adenosine A2A receptor belongs to the superfamily of GPCRs and is a promising therapeutic target. Traditionally, the discovery of novel agents for the A2A receptor has been guided by their affinity for the receptor. This parameter is determined under equilibrium conditions, largely ignoring the kinetic aspects of the ligand-receptor interaction. The aim of this study was to assess the binding kinetics of A2A receptor agonists and explore a possible relationship with their functional efficacy.
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH We set up, validated and optimized a kinetic radioligand binding assay (a so-called competition association assay) at the A2A receptor from which the binding kinetics of unlabelled ligands were determined. Subsequently, functional efficacies of A2A receptor agonists were determined in two different assays: a novel label-free impedance-based assay and a more traditional cAMP determination.
KEY RESULTS A simplified competition association assay yielded an accurate determination of the association and dissociation rates of unlabelled A2A receptor ligands at their receptor. A correlation was observed between the receptor residence time of A2A receptor agonists and their intrinsic efficacies in both functional assays. The affinity of A2A receptor agonists was not correlated to their functional efficacy.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS This study indicates that the molecular basis of different agonist efficacies at the A2A receptor lies within their different residence times at this receptor.