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J Med Chem. 1999 Oct 21;42(21):4331-42.

Design, synthesis, and evaluation of Phe-Gly mimetics: heterocyclic building blocks for pseudopeptides.

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Department of Organic Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University, Box 574, S-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden.


Enantiopure heterocyclic Boc-protected Phe-Gly dipeptidomimetics containing 1,3,4-oxadiazole, 1,2,4-oxadiazole, and 1,2,4-triazole ring systems have been synthesized as building blocks in the synthesis of pseudopeptides. Three derivatives (1-3) have the carboxylic acid function directly bound to the heterocyclic ring, and three derivatives (4-6) have an extra methylene group between the heterocyclic ring and the acid function to allow for an increased conformational flexibility. The mimetics were used as Phe-Gly replacements in the biologically active peptides dermorphin (Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Gly-Tyr-Pro-Ser-NH(2)) and substance P (Arg-Pro-Lys-Pro-Gln-Gln-Phe-Phe-Gly-Leu-MetNH(2), SP). The pseudopeptide synthesis was performed using solid-phase methodology on a MBHA-resin using Boc-chemistry. The biological evaluation was performed by testing the micro- and delta-opioid receptor affinities of the dermorphin pseudopeptides and the NK(1) receptor affinities of the SP pseudopeptides. The results showed that all mimetics except 3 were excellent replacements of Phe-Gly in dermorphin since they displayed affinities for the micro-receptor (IC(50) = 12-31 nM) in the same range as dermorphin itself (IC(50) = 6.2 nM). The agonist activity of three pseudopeptides at human micro-receptors was also evaluated. It was shown that the tested compounds retained their agonist activity. The SP pseudopeptides showed considerably lower affinities (IC(50) > 1 microM) for the NK(1) receptor than SP itself (IC(50) = 1.5 nM) indicating that the Phe-Gly replacements prevent the pseudopeptides from adopting bioactive conformations.

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