Probing the stereochemical requirements for receptor recognition of δ opioid agonists through topographic modifications in position 1

X. Qian, M. D. Shenderovich, K. E. Kover, P. Davis, R. Horvath, T. Zalewska, H. I. Yamamura, F. Porreca, V. J. Hruby

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53 Scopus citations


A series of side-chain constrained tyrosine derivatives, 2',6'-dimethyl-β-methyltyrosines (TMT), has been designed and incorporated into position 1 of the highly selective δ opioid agonists DPDPE (Tyr-D-Pen2-Gly-Phe-D-Pen5-OH) and deltorphin I (DELT I, Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Asp-Val-Val-Gly-NH2). Molecular mechanics calculations on isolated TMT residues and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of the TMT1-containing peptides in DMSO showed that each of the four stereoisomers of TMT favors one particular rotamer of the side-chain χ1 torsional angle. Therefore, substitution of four TMT isomers for Tyr1 allows us to perform a systematic conformational scan through three staggered rotamers of the aromatic side chain, gauche (-), trans, and gauche (+), and to explore specific binding requirements of the receptor in relation to the side chain conformation. The potency and selectivity of four isomers of [TMT1]DPDPE and four isomers of [TMT1]DELT I were evaluated by radioreceptor binding assays in the rat brain using μ- and δ-selective radiolabeled ligands and by bioassays with guinea pig ileum (GPI, μ receptor) and mouse vas deferens (MVD, δ receptor). In the DPDPE series only one isomer, [(2S,3R)-TMT1 ]DPDPE showed high potency and selectivity for the δ opioid receptors. The favorable side-chain rotamers found for this analogue, i.e., the trans rotamer of TMT1 and the gauche (-) rotamer of Phe4, were proposed as the most probable δ receptor-binding conformations of DPDPE analogues. Two [TMT1]DELT I isomers possessed considerable δ receptor potencies. The (2S,3R)-TMT1 isomer appeared to be a superpotent, but moderately δ-selective agonist, while the (2S,3S)-TMT1 isomer showed the highest selectivity for the δ receptors in this series. Surprisingly, [(2R,3R)TMT1]DELT I also was moderately potent at the δ receptor. These results suggest that the δ receptor requirements for the linear DELT I analogues may be satisfied with two different modes of binding of the (2S,3S)- and (2S,3R)TMT1 isomers. This study provides important guidance for the design of peptide and non-peptide ligands selective for the δ opioid receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7280-7290
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number31
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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