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Life Sci. 1995;56(11-12):823-30.

Molecular probes for muscarinic receptors: functionalized congeners of selective muscarinic antagonists.

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  • 1Molecular Recognition Section, Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The muscarinic agonist oxotremorine and the tricyclic muscarinic antagonists pirenzepine and telenzepine have been derivatized using a functionalized congener approach for the purpose of synthesizing high affinity ligand probes that are suitable for conjugation with prosthetic groups, for receptor cross-linking, fluorescent and radioactive detection, etc. A novel fluorescent conjugate of TAC (telenzepine amine congener), an n-decylamino derivative of the m1-selective antagonist, with the fluorescent trisulfonated pyrene dye Cascade Blue may be useful for assaying the receptor as an alternative to radiotracers. In a rat m3 receptor mutant containing a single amino acid substitution in the sixth transmembrane domain (Asn507 to Ala) the parent telenzepine lost 636-fold in affinity, while TAC lost only 27-fold. Thus, the decylamino group of TAC stabilizes the bound state and thus enhances potency by acting as a distal anchor in the receptor binding site. We have built a computer-assisted molecular model of the transmembrane regions of muscarinic receptors based on homology with the G-protein coupled receptor rhodopsin, for which a low resolution structure is known. We have coordinated the antagonist pharmacophore (tricyclic and piperazine moieties) with residues of the third and seventh helices of the rat m3 receptor. Although the decylamino chain of TAC is likely to be highly flexible and may adopt many conformations, we located one possible site for a salt bridge formation with the positively charged -NH3+ group, i.e. Asp113 in helix II.

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