Binding to δ and μ opioid receptors by deltorphin I/II analogues modified at the Phe3 and Asp4/Glu4 side chains: a report of 32 new analogue

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The synthesis and binding affinities of 32 X(3)Gly(4) dual-substitution analogues of the natural opioid heptapeptides deltorphin I and II are reported. A multiple regression QSAR analysis was performed using those results along with literature data for the X(3)Asp(4) and Phe(3)X(4) side chain analogues. Fitting to a three-term potential well model with hydrophobic and van der Waals attraction terms and a steric repulsion term indicates that the delta and mu receptor sites for binding the residue three side chain are similar, and that the binding interaction is primarily van der Waals and secondarily hydrophobic. Further analysis indicates that both sites are more constrained with respect to side chain length than width or thickness, and the mu site appears to be somewhat larger. A binding model consistent with these findings pictures the native third residues Phe ring laying on a step notched out of the receptor surface, pointing toward the back (riser) of the step, and sandwiched between the receptor and ligand. However, the binding sites for the residue four side chains are quite different on delta and mu receptors. Binding to the delta site appears to involve both electrostatic attraction (probably to a partial positive charge) and van der Waals attraction, but not necessarily hydrogen bonding, and more constraint with respect to side chain length than width or thickness. In contrast, there is no evidence for any kind of binding attraction between the side chain of residue four and the mu site, which acts more as steric repulsion site, as though the space that is a pocket on the delta receptor is filled in on the mu receptor. A regression model based only on steric repulsion by van der Waals bulk and/or the effective bulk of a hydration layer accounts for over 80% of the residue four related variation in mu affinity. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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