Untangling the web of 5-lipoxygenase-derived products from a molecular and structural perspective: The battle between pro- and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators

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Arachidonic acid (AA) is the precursor to leukotrienes (LT), potent mediators of the inflammatory response. In the 35 + years since cysteinyl-LTs were reported to mediate antigen-induced constriction of bronchi in tissue from asthma patients, numerous cellular responses evoked by the LTs, such as chemoattraction and G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation, have been elucidated and revealed a potential for 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) as a promising drug target that goes beyond asthma. We describe herein early work identifying 5-LOX as the key enzyme that initiates LT biosynthesis and the discovery of its membrane-embedded helper protein required to execute the two-step reaction that transforms AA to the progenitor leukotriene A (LTA). 5-LOX must traffic to the nuclear membrane to interact with its partner and undergo a conformational change so that AA can enter the active site. Additionally, the enzyme must retain the hydroperoxy-reaction intermediate for its final transformation to LTA. Each of these steps provide a unique target for inhibition. Next, we describe the recent structures of GPCRs that recognize metabolites of the 5-LOX pathway and thus provide target alternatives. We also highlight the role of 5-LOX in the biosynthesis of anti-inflammatory lipid mediators (LM), the so-called specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM). The involvement of 5-LOX in the biosynthesis of LM with opposing functions undoubtedly complicates the continuing search for 5-LOX inhibitors as therapeutic leads. Finally, we address the recent discovery of how some allosteric 5-LOX inhibitors promote oxygenation at the 12/15 carbon on AA to generate mediators that resolve, rather than promote, inflammation.

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Biochemical pharmacology

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