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Human pregnane X receptor is activated by dibenzazepine carbamate-based inhibitors of constitutive androstane receptor

: Jeske, J.; Windshügel, B.; Thasler, W.E.; Schwab, M.; Burk, O.


Archives of toxicology 91 (2017), No.6, pp.2375-2390
ISSN: 0340-5761
ISSN: 1432-0738
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Unintentional activation of xenosensing nuclear receptors pregnane X receptor (PXR) and/or constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) by clinical drug use is known to produce severe side effects in patients, which may be overcome by co-administering antagonists. However, especially antagonizing CAR is hampered by the lack of specific inhibitors, which do not activate PXR. Recently, compounds based on a dibenzazepine carbamate scaffold were identified as potent CAR inhibitors. However, their potential to activate PXR was not thoroughly investigated, even if the lead compound was named "CAR inhibitor not PXR activator 1" (CINPA1). Thus, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the interaction of CINPA1 and four analogs with PXR. Cellular assays were used to investigate intra- and intermolecular interactions and transactivation activity of PXR as a function of the compounds. Modulation of PXR target gene expression was analyzed in primary human hepatocytes. Ligand binding to PXR was investigated by molecular docking and limited proteolytic digestion. We show here that CINPA1 induced the assembly of the PXR ligand-binding domain, released co-repressors from and recruited co-activators to the receptor. CINPA1 and its analogs induced the PXR-dependent activation of a CYP3A4 reporter gene and CINPA1 induced the expression of endogenous cytochrome P450 genes in primary hepatocytes, while not consistently inhibiting CAR-mediated induction. Molecular docking revealed favorable binding of CINPA1 and analogs to the PXR ligand-binding pocket, which was confirmed in vitro. Altogether, our data provide consistent evidence that compounds with a dibenzazepine carbamate scaffold, such as CINPA1 and its four analogs, bind to and activate PXR.