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J Biol Chem. 1989 Apr 15;264(11):6349-54.

Role of the phenylalanine B24 side chain in directing insulin interaction with its receptor. Importance of main chain conformation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem 1989 Oct 15;264(29):17613.


We have investigated (by use of semisynthetic insulin analogs and isolated canine hepatocytes) the role of invariant residue PheB24 in determining the affinity of insulin-receptor interactions. Our results confirm that replacement of PheB24 by D-Phe is not detrimental to ligand binding to receptor, show that D-Ala is well tolerated at position B24 (whereas Ala is not), and demonstrate that [GlyB24]insulin retains as much as 78% of the receptor binding potency of native insulin. Additional findings show that replacement of PheB24 by D-Pro or by alpha-aminoisobutyric acid results in analogs with severely decreased binding potency, and that the COOH-terminal domain containing residues B26-B30 plays a positive role in determining receptor binding potency in GlyB24-substituted insulin (whereas it plays a negative role in determining the receptor binding potency of its GlyB25-substituted counterpart). We interpret our results as identifying (a) a critical role for the insulin main chain near residue B24 in determining the affinity of receptor for ligand, (b) the importance of main chain flexibility in achieving a high affinity state of receptor-bound hormone, and (c) a potential interaction of the PheB24 side chain with receptor which initiates main chain structural changes in the natural hormone, but which does not itself confer affinity to ligand-receptor interactions.

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