Rimonabant, a potent CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist, is a Gα; i/o; protein inhibitor

Porcu, Alessandra and Melis, Miriam and Turecek, Rostislav and Ullrich, Celine and Mocci, Ignazia and Bettler, Bernhard and Gessa, Gian Luigi and Castelli, M. Paola. (2018) Rimonabant, a potent CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist, is a Gα; i/o; protein inhibitor. Neuropharmacology, 133. pp. 107-120.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives).


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/76138/

Downloads: Statistics Overview


Rimonabant is a potent and selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist widely used in animal and clinical studies. Besides its antagonistic properties, numerous studies have shown that, at micromolar concentrations rimonabant behaves as an inverse agonist at CB1 receptors. The mechanism underpinning this activity is unclear. Here we show that micromolar concentrations of rimonabant inhibited Gα; i/o; -type G proteins, resulting in a receptor-independent block of G protein signaling. Accordingly, rimonabant decreased basal and agonist stimulated [; 35; S]GTPγS binding to cortical membranes of CB1- and GABA; B; -receptor KO mice and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell membranes stably transfected with GABA; B; or D2 dopamine receptors. The structural analog of rimonabant, AM251, decreased basal and baclofen-stimulated GTPγS binding to rat cortical and CHO cell membranes expressing GABA; B; receptors. Rimonabant prevented G protein-mediated GABA; B; and D2 dopamine receptor signaling to adenylyl cyclase in Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells and to G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying K; +; channels (GIRK) in midbrain dopamine neurons of CB1 KO mice. Rimonabant suppressed GIRK gating induced by GTPγS in CHO cells transfected with GIRK, consistent with a receptor-independent action. Bioluminescent resonance energy transfer (BRET) measurements in living CHO cells showed that, in presence or absence of co-expressed GABA; B; receptors, rimonabant stabilized the heterotrimeric Gαi/o-protein complex and prevented conformational rearrangements induced by GABA; B; receptor activation. Rimonabant failed to inhibit Gαs-mediated signaling, supporting its specificity for Gα; i/o; -type G proteins. The inhibition of Gα; i/o; protein provides a new site of rimonabant action that may help to understand its pharmacological and toxicological effects occurring at high concentrations.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Biomedizin > Division of Physiology > Molecular Neurobiology Synaptic Plasticity (Bettler)
UniBasel Contributors:Bettler, Bernhard
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:30 Mar 2020 10:23
Deposited On:30 Mar 2020 10:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page