Biostable Agonists that Match or Exceed Activity of Native Insect Kinins on Recombinant Arthropod GPCRs
SOUTHERN PLAINS AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER COLLEGE STATION TX AREAWIDE PEST MANAGEMENT RESEARCH UNIT
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The multifunctional arthropod insect kinins share the evolutionarily conserved C-terminal pentapeptide motif Phe-X1-X2-Trp-Gly-NH2, where X1 His, Asn, Ser, or Tyr and X2 Ser, Pro, or Ala. Insect kinins regulate diuresis in many species of insects. Compounds with similar biological activity could be exploited for the control of arthropod pest populations such as the mosquito Aedes aegypti L. and the southern cattle tick Rhipicephalus Boophilus microplus Canestrini, vectors of human and animal pathogens, respectively. Insect kinins, however, are susceptible to fast enzymatic degradation by endogenous peptidases that severely limit their use as tools for pest control or for endocrinological studies. To enhance resistance to peptidases, analogs of the insect kinins incorporating bulky a,a-disubstituted amino acids in positions adjacent to both primary and secondary peptidase hydrolysis sites were synthesized. In comparison with a control insect kinin, several of these analogs are highly stable to hydrolysis by degradative enzymes ANCE, neprilysin and Leucine aminopeptidase. Six analogs were evaluated by calcium bioluminescence assay on recombinant receptors from mosquito and tick. Four of these analogs either matched or exceeded the potency of the control kinin peptide agonist. One of these was about 5-fold more potent than the control agonist on the tick receptor. This analog was 8-fold more potent than the control agonist on the mosquito receptor, and twice more potent than the endogenous Aedes kinin-II. The analog also demonstrated potent activity in an in vitro Aedes Malpighian tubule fluid secretion assay. Similar comparisons of analog potency cannot be made to tick kinins because no endogenous kinin has yet been identified. These potent, biostable analogs represent ideal new tools for endocrinologists studying arthropod kinin-regulated processes in vivo, particularly for ticks in which their role remains to be established.