January 9, 2018 | Sage Journals | Agonists and Antagonists of Protease-Activated Receptor 2 Discovered within a DNA-Encoded Chemical Library Using Mutational Stabilization of the Target
The discovery of ligands via affinity-mediated selection of DNA-encoded chemical libraries is driven by the quality and concentration of the protein target. G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and other membrane-bound targets can be difficult to isolate in their functional state and at high concentrations, and therefore have been challenging for affinity-mediated selection. Here, we report a successful selection campaign against protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). Using a thermo-stabilized mutant of PAR2, we conducted affinity selection using our >100-billion-compound DNA-encoded library. We observed a number of putative ligands enriched upon selection, and subsequent cellular profiling revealed these ligands to comprise both agonists and antagonists. The agonist series shared structural similarity with known agonists. The antagonists were shown to bind in a novel allosteric binding site on the PAR2 protein. This report serves to demonstrate that cell-free affinity selection against GPCRs can be achieved with mutant stabilized protein targets.