pK(a) and volume of residue one influence delta/mu opioid binding: QSAR analysis of tyrosine replacement in a nonselective deltorphin analogue

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[Gly(4)]deltorphin (Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Gly-Val-Val-Gly-NH2) is a nonselective analogue of the opioid heptapeptides isolated from Phyllomedusa amphibian skin. Its nonselective nature allows for simultaneous characterization of the effects of sequence modification on both delta (delta) and mu (mu) receptor binding. The N-terminal regions of opioid peptides are considered to be responsible for receptor recognition, and the tyrosine at position one is relatively intolerant to alteration. In order to further investigate the role of the phenolic hydroxyl group in receptor interaction, a series of peptides was synthesized in which the position-one tyrosine residue was replaced with analogues of varying electronic, steric, and acid/base character, including ring-substituted tyrosines, para-substituted phenylalanines, and other nonaromatic and heterocyclic amino acids. The effects of these replacements on delta and mu receptor affinities were measured and then analyzed through quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) calculations. Results support a dual hydrogen bond donor/acceptor role for the Tyr(1) hydroxyl moiety, with less acidic hydroxyl groups exhibiting stronger binding to opioid receptors. In addition, steric bulk in the Tyr(1) position independently strengthens mu and possibly delta binding, presumably by either a ligand conformational effect or enhanced van der Waals interactions with a 'loose' receptor site. The pK(a) effect is stronger on delta than on mu binding, generating an increase in delta selectivity with increasing residue-one pK(a). (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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