The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy for the measurement of real-time ligand-binding affinities and kinetic parameters for GPR17, a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) of major interest in medicinal chemistry as potential target in demyelinating diseases. The receptor was directly captured, in a single-step, from solubilized membrane extracts on the sensor chip through a covalently bound anti-6x-His-antibody and retained its ligand binding activity for over 24 h. Furthermore, our experimental setup made possible, after a mild regeneration step, to remove the bound receptor without damaging the antibody, and thus to reuse many times the same chip. Two engineered variants of GPR17, designed for crystallographic studies, were expressed in insect cells, extracted from crude membranes and analyzed for their binding with two high affinity ligands: the antagonist Cangrelor and the agonist Asinex 1. The calculated kinetic parameters and binding constants of ligands were in good agreement with those reported from activity assays and highlighted a possible functional role of the N-terminal residues of the receptor in ligand recognition and binding. Validation of SPR results was obtained by docking and molecular dynamics of GPR17-ligands interactions and by functional in vitro studies. The latter allowed us to confirm that Asinex 1 behaves as GPR17 receptor agonist, inhibits forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase pathway and promotes oligodendrocyte precursor cell maturation and myelinating ability.
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