Category: J. F. Hernandez

The GHR-R antagonist JMV 2959 neither induces malaise nor alters the malaise property of LiCl in the adult male rat

Physiol Behav. 2018 Jan 1;183:46-48. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.10.017. Epub 2017 Oct 19.

Rodriguez JA, Fehrentz JA, Martinez J, Ben Haj Salah K, Wellman PJ.


The orexigenic peptide ghrelin (GHR) interacts with ghrelin receptors (GHR-Rs) to modulate brain reinforcement and feeding circuits. Pharmacological inactivation of GHR-Rs via administration of the drug JMV 2959 attenuates the rewarding/reinforcing effects of several drugs of abuse including alcohol, morphine, amphetamine and nicotine. One view of these results is that inactivation of GHR-Rs taps into brain reinforcement/feeding circuits acted upon by drugs of abuse. An alternate explanation is that JMV 2959 may induce malaise, which in turn may limit reinforcement as well as food ingestion. This is a variable of interest given that nicotine alone can induce malaise which may be enhanced by JMV 2959. In the present study, we assessed the capacity of JMV 2959 to produce malaise using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) task. Adult male rats were allowed to consume a 0.1% sodium saccharin solution and then injected IP with either vehicle, 0.4mg/kg nicotine, 3mg/kg JMV 2959, a combination of 0.4mg/kg nicotine and 3mg/kg JMV 2959, or 32mg/kg lithium chloride (a positive control known to support induction of CTA). Lithium chloride produced a robust avoidance of the saccharin solution in subsequent 2 bottle (water and saccharin) tests, whereas JMV 2959 alone did not induce CTA. The combination of JMV 2959 and nicotine induced a moderate degree of CTA that was similar to that produced by nicotine alone. These results suggest that JMV 2959 is unlikely to limit either reinforcement or food ingestion via induction of malaise.

Growth hormone secretagogues hexarelin and JMV2894 protect skeletal muscle from mitochondrial damages in a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 12;7(1):13017. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13504-y.

Sirago G, Conte E, Fracasso F, Cormio A, Fehrentz JA, Martinez J, Musicco C, Camerino GM, Fonzino A, Rizzi L, Torsello A, Lezza AMS, Liantonio A, Cantatore P, Pesce V.


Chemotherapy can cause cachexia, which consists of weight loss associated with muscle atrophy. The exact mechanisms underlying this skeletal muscle toxicity are largely unknown and co-therapies to attenuate chemotherapy-induced side effects are lacking. By using a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia, we here characterized the mitochondrial homeostasis in tibialis anterior cachectic muscle and evaluated the potential beneficial effects of the growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) hexarelin and JMV2894 in this setting. We found that cisplatin treatment caused a decrease in mitochondrial biogenesis (PGC-1α, NRF-1, TFAM, mtDNA, ND1), mitochondrial mass (Porin and Citrate synthase activity) and fusion index (MFN2, Drp1), together with changes in the expression of autophagy-related genes (AKT/FoxO pathway, Atg1, Beclin1, LC3AII, p62) and enhanced ROS production (PRX III, MnSOD). Importantly, JMV2894 and hexarelin are capable to antagonize this chemotherapy-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, our findings reveal a key-role played by mitochondria in the mechanism responsible for GHS beneficial effects in skeletal muscle, strongly indicating that targeting mitochondrial dysfunction might be a promising area of research in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent or limit muscle wasting in cachexia.

1,2,4-Triazole-3-thione Compounds as Inhibitors of Dizinc Metallo-β-lactamases

ChemMedChem 2017 Jun 21;12(12):972-985. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.201700186. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Sevaille L, Gavara L, Bebrone C, De Luca F, Nauton L, Achard M, Mercuri P, Tanfoni S, Borgianni L, Guyon C, Lonjon P, Turan-Zitouni G, Dzieciolowski J, Becker K, Bénard L, Condon C, Maillard L, Martinez J, Frère JM, Dideberg O, Galleni M, Docquier JD, Hernandez JF.


Metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) cause resistance of Gram-negative bacteria to β-lactam antibiotics and are of serious concern, because they can inactivate the last-resort carbapenems and because MBL inhibitors of clinical value are still lacking. We previously identified the original binding mode of 4-amino-2,4-dihydro-5-(2-methylphenyl)-3H-1,2,4-triazole-3-thione (compound IIIA) within the dizinc active site of the L1 MBL. Herein we present the crystallographic structure of a complex of L1 with the corresponding non-amino compound IIIB (1,2-dihydro-5-(2-methylphenyl)-3H-1,2,4-triazole-3-thione). Unexpectedly, the binding mode of IIIB was similar but reverse to that of IIIA. The 3 D structures suggested that the triazole-thione scaffold was suitable to bind to the catalytic site of dizinc metalloenzymes. On the basis of these results, we synthesized 54 analogues of IIIA or IIIB. Nineteen showed IC50 values in the micromolar range toward at least one of five representative MBLs (i.e., L1, VIM-4, VIM-2, NDM-1, and IMP-1). Five of these exhibited a significant inhibition of at least four enzymes, including NDM-1, VIM-2, and IMP-1. Active compounds mainly featured either halogen or bulky bicyclic aryl substituents. Finally, some compounds were also tested on several microbial dinuclear zinc-dependent hydrolases belonging to the MBL-fold superfamily (i.e., endonucleases and glyoxalase II) to explore their activity toward structurally similar but functionally distinct enzymes. Whereas the bacterial tRNases were not inhibited, the best IC50 values toward plasmodial glyoxalase II were in the 10 μm range.

N-acyl benzotriazole derivatives for the synthesis of dipeptides and tripeptides and peptide biotinylation by mechanochemistry

N-acyl benzotriazole derivatives for the synthesis of dipeptides and tripeptides and peptide biotinylation by mechanochemistry

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, Pages: Ahead of Print, 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b02439

L. Gonnet, T. Tintillier, N. Venturini, L. Konnert, J. F. Hernandez, F. Lamaty, G. Laconde, J. Martinez, E. Colacino

N-acyl benzotriazole derivatives for the synthesis of dipeptides and tripeptides and peptide biotinylation by mechanochemistry


An eco-friendly methodol. for prepg. Fmoc-, Z-, and Boc-N-protected dipeptides and tripeptides is described, from the corresponding N-protected-α-aminoacyl benzotriazoles and α-amino acid derivs., with different C-terminal functionalities such as esters or amides, using vibrational ball-mill (VBM). The reactivity of a β-amino ester was also investigated. In some cases, the coupling was achieved by liq.-assisted grinding (LAG). α,α- and one α,β-dipeptide were obtained in good to excellent yields mainly by pptn. in water, resulting in an improved environmental impact compared to classical peptide synthesis in soln., as shown by green metric calcns. The method was extended to the biotinylation, via an aminohexanoyl spacer, of the pentapeptide RGDfV, which contains the well-known integrins recognition site arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motif.

Structure-Activity Relationships of JMV4463, a Vectorized Cathepsin D Inhibitor with Antiproliferative Properties: The Unique Role of the AMPA-Based Vector

ChemMedChem, 2016, Volume: 11, Issue: 3, Pages: 302-308, DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201500457

L. Vezenkov, C. A. Sanchez, V. Bellet, V. Martin, M. Maynadier, N. Bettache, V. Lisowski, J. Martinez, M. Garcia, M. Amblard, J. F. Hernandez


Cathepsin D (CathD) is overexpressed and secreted by several solid tumors and stimulates their growth, the mechanism of which is still not understood.  In this context, the pepstatin bioconjugate JMV4463 [Ac-arg-O2Oc-(Val)3-Sta-Ala-Sta-(AMPA)4-NH2; O2Oc=8-amino-3,6-dioxaoctanoyl, Sta=statine, AMPA=ortho-aminomethylphenylacetyl], contg. a new kind of cell-penetrating vector, was previously shown to exhibit potent antiproliferative effects in vitro and to delay the onset of tumors in vivo.  In this study, the authors performed a structure-activity relationship anal. to evaluate the significance of the inhibitor and vector moieties of JMV4463.  By modifying both statine residues of pepstatin the authors found that the antiproliferative activity is correlated with CathD inhibition, supporting a major role of the catalytic activity of intracellular CathD in cancer cell proliferation.  Replacing the vector composed of four AMPA units with other vectors was found to abolish cytotoxicity, although all of the conjugates enabled pepstatin transport into cells.  In addn., the AMPA4 vector must be localized at the C terminus of the bioconjugate.  The unexpected importance of the vector structure and position for cytotoxic action suggests that AMPA4 enables pepstatin to inhibit the proteolysis of crit. CathD substrates involved in cell proliferation via a unique mechanism of action.

Agonism, Antagonism, and Inverse Agonism Bias at the Ghrelin Receptor Signaling

Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2015, Volume: 290, Issue: 45, Pages: 27021-27039, DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M115.659250

C. M’Kadmi, J.-P. Leyris, L. Onfroy, C. Gales, A. Sauliere, D. Gagne,  M. Damian, S. Mary, M. Maingot, S. Denoyelle, P. Verdie, J.-A. Fehrentz, J. Martinez, J.-L. Baneres, J. Marie


The G protein-coupled receptor GHS-R1a mediates ghrelin-induced growth hormone secretion, food intake, and reward-seeking behaviors.  GHS-R1a signals through Gq, Gi/o, G13, and arrestin.  Biasing GHS-R1a signaling with specific ligands may lead to the development of more selective drugs to treat obesity or addiction with minimal side effects.  To delineate ligand selectivity at GHS-R1a signaling, we analyzed in detail the efficacy of a panel of synthetic ligands activating the different pathways assocd. with GHS-R1a in HEK293T cells.  Besides β-arrestin2 recruitment and ERK1/2 phosphorylation, we monitored activation of a large panel of G protein subtypes using a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based assay with G protein-activation biosensors.  We first found that unlike full agonists, Gq partial agonists were unable to trigger β-arrestin2 recruitment and ERK1/2 phosphorylation.  Using G protein-activation biosensors, we then demonstrated that ghrelin promoted activation of Gq, Gi1, Gi2, Gi3, Goa, Gob, and G13 but not Gs and G12.  Besides, we identified some GHS-R1a ligands that preferentially activated Gq and antagonized ghrelin-mediated Gi/Go activation.  Finally, we unambiguously demonstrated that in addn. to Gq, GHS-R1a also promoted constitutive activation of G13.  Importantly, we identified some ligands that were selective inverse agonists toward Gq but not of G13.  This demonstrates that bias at GHS-R1a signaling can occur not only with regard to agonism but also to inverse agonism.  Our data, combined with other in vivo studies, may facilitate the design of drugs selectively targeting individual signaling pathways to treat only the therapeutically relevant function.