Group-III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR4, -6, -7, and -8) modulate neurotoxicity of excitatory amino acids and beta-amyloid-peptide (βAP), as well as epileptic convulsions, most likely via presynaptic inhibition of glutamatergic neurotransmission. Due to the lack of subtype-selective ligands for group-III receptors, we previously utilized knock-out mice to identify mGluR4 as the primary receptor mediating neuroprotection of unselective group-III agonists such as L-AP 4 or (+)-PPG, whereas mGluR7 is critical for anticonvulsive effects. In a recent effort to find group-III subtype-selective drugs we identified (+/-)-PHCCC as a positive allosteric modulator for mGluR4. This compound increases agonist potency and markedly enhances maximum efficacy and, at higher concentrations, directly activates mGluR4 with low efficacy. All the activity of (+/-)-PHCCC resides in the (-)-enantiomer, which is inactive at mGluR2, -3, -5a, -6, -7b and -8a, but shows partial antagonist activity at mGluR1b (30% maximum antagonist efficacy). Chimeric receptor studies showed that the binding site of (-)-PHCCC is localized in the transmembrane region. Finally, (-)-PHCCC showed neuroprotection against βAP- and NMDA-toxicity in mixed cultures of mouse cortical neurons. This neuroprotection was additive to that induced by the highly efficacious mGluR1 antagonist CPCCOEt and was blocked by MSOP, a group-III mGluR antagonist. Our data provide evidence for a novel pharmacological site on mGluR4, which may be used as a target-site for therapeutics.
- β-amyloid toxicity
- Metabotropic glutamate receptors
- Positive modulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Drug Discovery