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Int J Pharm. 2000 Dec 4;210(1-2):29-44.

A rapid screening system to determine drug affinities for the intestinal dipeptide transporter 2: affinities of ACE inhibitors.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Scienices Research Institute, Aston Pharmacy School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.



To assess the affinities of a series of ACE inhibitors for the di/tri/oligopeptide transport system (DTS) using a rapid in vitro system.


Monolayers of Caco-2 cells were cultured in plastic wells for 7-9 days and the uptake of Gly-[3H]L-Pro was used as an affinity probe. Gly-[3H]L-Pro (50 nM), together with excess L-Pro (10 mM), to suppress uptake of any [3H]L-Pro produced by degradation of the probe, was incubated with the test compound (usually 1 mM) at pH 6 for 3-mins. The uptake of radiolabel was determined by liquid scintillation counting.


A 2-dimensional six-domain model of the transporter based on the structure of a phosphinate ACE inhibitor (SQ-29852) was constructed to facilitate interpretation of the competitor affinities. The SQ-29852 molecule was divided into six binding domains (A-F) based on functional groups within these regions and the effects of structural variation in four of these domains (A, C-E) were explored. A series of dipeptide-like compounds varying within specific domains were selected from a large number of commercially available ACE inhibitors and SQ-29852 analogues. Domain A had a preference for an uncharged group, with bulky hydrophobic groups reducing affinity. Domain C exhibited a preference for a positive charge over a neutral function, with the space this functional group occupies contributing to affinity. Domain D favoured lipophilic residues and domain E retained activity when the carboxylic acid was esterified.


The test system is able to reveal structure-activity relationships of peptidomimetic agents and may well serve as a design tool to optimise affinity for the DTS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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