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FEBS Lett. 2000 Sep 15;481(2):131-6.

Arginine-rich peptides are blockers of VR-1 channels with analgesic activity.

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Centro de Biologia Molecular y Celular, Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Edf. Torregaitan, Avda, Ferrocarril sln, 03202 Elche, Spain.


Vanilloid receptors (VRs) play a fundamental role in the transduction of peripheral tissue injury and/or inflammation responses. Molecules that antagonize VR channel activity may act as selective and potent analgesics. We report that synthetic arginine-rich hexapeptides block heterologously expressed VR-1 channels with submicromolar efficacy in a weak voltage-dependent manner, consistent with a binding site located near/at the entryway of the aqueous pore. Dynorphins, natural arginine-rich peptides, also blocked VR-1 activity with micromolar affinity. Notably, synthetic and natural arginine-rich peptides attenuated the ocular irritation produced by topical capsaicin application onto the eyes of experimental animals. Taken together, our results imply that arginine-rich peptides are VR-1 channel blockers with analgesic activity. These findings may expand the development of novel analgesics by targeting receptor sites distinct from the capsaicin binding site.

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