Conformational analysis of enkephalin analogs contaIntng a disulfide bond Models for delta‐ and mu‐receptor opioid agonists


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Conformational analyses of the cyclic opioids H‐Tyr‐d‐Pen‐Gly‐Phe‐d‐Pen‐OH (DPDPE) and H‐Tyr‐d‐Cys‐Gly‐Phe‐d‐Cys‐OH (DCDCE) have been performed using the AMBER program. DPDPE is considerably more selective for delta‐receptors than DCDCE. Using the RNGCFM program, a large number of ways were found to close the 14‐membered disulfide‐containing ring structure. However, intramolecular hydrogen bonds were only possible in gamma‐turn and inverse gamma‐turn conformations centered on the glycine residue which were associated with opposite chiralities of the disulfide bond. With the cyclic part of the molecules in either a gamma‐turn or inverse gamma‐turn, a systematic conformational analysis was performed on the tyrosine and phenylalanine sidechains. This showed that conformers with the tyrosine and phenylalanine phenyl rings in the vicIntty of the disulfide bond were preferred due to attractive van der Waals forces. For DPDPE, however, this was only possible with a positive dihedral angle for the disulfide bond due to the presence of the beta‐carbon methyls of Pen2. In contrast, these preferred conformers were possible with both chiralities of the disulfide bond in DCDCE. Conformational entropies and free energies were computed from the translational, rotational, and vibrational energy levels available to each conformer. The conformational entropies were found to vary significantly and to result in a re‐ordering of the lowest energy mIntma. Based on these conformational differences in DPDPE and DCDCE and their differing pharmacological selectivities, tentative conformational preferences for delta‐ and mu‐receptor opioid peptides are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of peptide and protein research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • delta‐receptor
  • disulfide bond
  • energies
  • enkephalin analogs
  • entropies
  • gamma‐turn
  • mu‐receptor
  • van der Waals forces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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