Molecular Determinants of GS-9620-Dependent TLR7 Activation

<div><p>GS-9620 is an orally administered agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR)7 currently being evaluated in clinical studies for the treatment of chronic HBV and HIV patients. GS-9620 has shown antiviral efficacy in preclinical models of chronic hepadnavirus infection in woodchuck as well as chimpanzee. However, the molecular determinants of GS-9620-dependent activation of TLR7 are not well defined. The studies presented here elucidate GS-9620 subcellular distribution and characterize its molecular interactions with human TLR7 using structure-guided mutational analysis. Based on our results we present a molecular model of TLR7 bound to GS-9620. We also determine that several coding SNPs had no effect on GS-9620-dependent TLR7 activation. In addition, our studies provide evidence that TLR7 exists in a ligand-independent oligomeric state and that, TLR7 activation by GS-9620 is likely associated with compound-induced conformational changes. Finally, we demonstrate that activation of NF-κB and Akt pathways in primary plasmacytoid dendritic cells occur as immediate downstream cellular responses to GS-9620 stimulation. The data presented here further our understanding of the molecular parameters governing TLR7 activation by GS-9620, and more generally by nucleos/tide-related ligands.</p></div>