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Activation of Relaxin-Related Receptors by Short, Linear Peptides Derived from a Collagen-Containing Precursor

Authors


Address for correspondence: Ronen Shemesh. ronens@compugen.co.il

Abstract

In a screening effort based on algorithmic predictions for novel G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) peptide activators, we were able to identify and examine two novel peptides (P59 and P74) which are short, linear, and derived from a natural, previously unidentified precursor protein containing a collagen-like repeat. Both peptides seemed to show an apparent cAMP-related effect on CHO-K1 cells transiently transfected with either LGR7 or LGR8, usually after treatment with cAMP-generating forskolin, compared to the same cells treated with forskolin plus relaxin. This activation was not found for the relaxin-3 receptor (GPR135). In a set of follow-up experiments, both peptides were found to stimulate cAMP production, mostly upon initial stimulation of cAMP production by 5 μM forskolin in cells transfected with either LGR7 or LGR8. In a dye-free cell impedance GPCR activation assay, we were able to show that these peptides were also able to activate a cellular response mediated by these receptors. Although untransfected CHO-K1 cells showed some cellular activation by both relaxin and at least one of our newly discovered peptides, both LGR7- and LGR8-transfected cells showed a stronger response, indicating stimulation of a cellular pathway through activation of these receptors. In conclusion, we were able to show that these newly discovered peptides, which have no similarity to any member of the relaxin–insulin-like peptide family, are potential ligands for the relaxin-related family of receptors and as such might serve as novel candidates for relaxin-related therapeutic indications. Both peptides are linear and were found to be active after being chemically synthesized.

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