Lysophosphatidylcholine elicits intracellular calcium signaling in a GPR55-dependent manner

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 Jul 22;489(2):242-247. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.05.145. Epub 2017 May 26.


The GPR55 signaling is fertile ground for drug discovery, however despite considerable research progress during the past 10 years, many open questions remain. The GPR55 pharmacology remains controversial, as many ligands have been reported with inconsistent results. Here, we show that various molecular species of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) elicit intracellular Ca2+ mobilization in GPR55-expressing PC-3 human prostate carcinoma cells. The response was even stronger than [Ca2+]i flux evoked by endogenous (OEA) and synthetic (Abn-CBD) agonists. Treatment with GPR55 antagonists CID16020046 and ML193 as well as the lipid raft disrupter methyl-β-cyclodextrin strongly blunted LPC-induced calcium signal. Additionally, molecular modeling analysis revealed that LPC 16:0 and LPC 18:1 interact stronger with the receptor than to OEA. Identified electrostatic interactions between GPR55 residues and the ligands overlap with the binding site identified previously for lysophosphatidylinositol. Therefore, we prove that LPC is another GPR55-sensitive ligand. This finding is relevant in understanding lysophospolipids-mediated signaling and opens new avenues to develop therapeutic approach based on GPR55 targeting.

Keywords: GPR55; Intracellular calcium mobilization; Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC); Molecular modeling.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / isolation & purification
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects*
  • Cattle
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Ligands
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / pharmacology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • GPR55 protein, human
  • Ligands
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Alkaline Phosphatase