Human Relaxin Receptor Is Fully Functional in Humanized Mice and Is Activated by Small Molecule Agonist ML290.

Therapeutic Approaches

Abstract

Relaxin, a small peptide hormone of the insulin/relaxin family, demonstrated antifibrotic, organ protective, vasodilatory, and proangiogenic properties in clinical trials and several animal models of human diseases. Relaxin family peptide receptor 1 (RXFP1) is the relaxin cognate G protein-coupled receptor. We have identified a series of small molecule agonists of human RXFP1. The lead compound ML290 demonstrated preferred absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion profiles, is easy to synthesize, and has high stability in vivo. However, ML290 does not activate rodent RXFP1s and therefore cannot be tested in common preclinical animal models. Here we describe the production and analysis of a mouse transgenic model, a knock-out/knock-in of the human RXFP1 (hRXFP1) complementary DNA into the mouse Rxfp1 (mRxfp1) gene. Insertion of the vector into the mRxfp1 locus caused disruption of mRxfp1 and expression of hRXFP1. The transcriptional expression pattern of the hRXFP1 allele was similar to mRxfp1. Female mice homozygous for hRXFP1 showed relaxation of the pubic symphysis at parturition and normal development of mammary nipples and vaginal epithelium, indicating full complementation of mRxfp1 gene ablation. Intravenous injection of relaxin led to an increase in heart rate in humanized and wild-type females but not in Rxfp1-deficient mice, whereas ML290 increased heart rate in humanized but not wild-type animals, suggesting specific target engagement by ML290. Moreover, intraperitoneal injection of ML290 caused a decrease in blood osmolality. Taken together, our data show humanized RXFP1 mice can be used for testing relaxin receptor modulators in various preclinical studies.

Authors

Kaftanovskaya, Elena M; Soula, Mariluz; Myhr, Courtney; Ho, Brian A; Moore, Stefanie N; Yoo, Changwon; Cervantes, Briana; How, Javier; Marugan, Juan; Agoulnik, Irina U; Agoulnik, Alexander I;

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