Identification of the first nonpeptidergic inverse agonist for a constitutively active viral-encoded G protein-coupled receptor

P Casarosa, W.M.P.B. Menge, R. Minisini, C. Otto, J.T. van Heteren, A. Jongejan, H. Timmerman, B. Moepps, F. Kirchhoff, Th. Mertens, M.J. Smit, R. Leurs

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), named US28, which shows homology to chemokine receptors and binds several chemokines with high affinity. US28 induces migration of smooth muscle cells, a feature essential for the development of atherosclerosis, and may serve as a co-receptor for human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 entry into cells. Previously, we have shown that HCMV-encoded US28 displays constitutive activity, whereas its mammalian homologs do not. In this study we have identified a small nonpeptidergic molecule (VUF2274) that inhibits US28-mediated phospholipase C activation in transiently transfected COS-7 cells and in HCMV-infected fibroblasts. Moreover, VUF2274 inhibits US28-mediated HIV entry into cells. In addition, VUF2274 fully displaces radiolabeled RANTES (regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted) binding at US28, apparently with a noncompetitive behavior. Different analogues of VUF2274 have been synthesized and pharmacologically characterized, to understand which features are important for its inverse agonistic activity. Finally, by means of mutational analysis of US28, we have identified a glutamic acid in transmembrane 7 (TM 7), which is highly conserved among chemokine receptors, as a critical residue for VUF2274 binding to US28. The identification of a full inverse agonist provides an important tool to investigate the relevance of US28 constitutive activity in viral pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5172-8
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2003


  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Drug Design
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mutation
  • Piperidines
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Viral Proteins
  • Virus Replication
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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