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Prog Brain Res. 2002;139:179-96.

Molecular pharmacology and modeling of vasopressin receptors.

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Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH, USA.


AVP receptors represent a logical target for drug development. As a new class of therapeutic agents, orally active AVP analogs could be used to treat several human pathophysiological conditions including neurogenic diabetes insipidus, the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of AVP (SIADH), congestive heart failure, arterial hypertension, liver cirrhosis, nephrotic syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and ocular hypertension. By immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting, we elucidated the phosphorylation pattern of green fluorescent protein-tagged AVP receptors and showed interactions with the specific kinases PKC and GRK5 that are agonist-, time- and receptor subtype-dependent. The tyrosine residue of the NPWIY motif present in the 7th helix of AVP receptors is rapidly and transiently phosphorylated after agonist stimulation. This phosphorylation is instrumental in the genesis of the mitogenic cascade linked to the activation of this receptor, presumably by establishing key intramolecular contacts and by participating in the creation of a scaffold of proteins that produce the activation of downstream kinases. The random screening of chemical entities and optimization of lead compounds recently resulted in the development of orally active non-peptide AVP receptor agonists and antagonists. Furthermore, the identification of the molecular determinants of receptor-ligand interactions should facilitate the development of more potent and very selective orally active compounds via the approach of structure-based drug design. We developed three-dimensional molecular docking models of peptide and non-peptide ligands to the human V1 vascular, V2 renal and V3 pituitary AVP receptors. Docking of the peptide hormone AVP to the receptor ligand binding pockets reflects its dual polar and non-polar structure, but is receptor subtype-specific. The characteristics of non-peptide AVP analogs docking to the receptors are clearly distinct from those of peptide analogs docking. Molecular modeling of the results of site-directed mutagenesis experiments performed in CHO cells stably transfected with the human AVP receptor subtypes revealed that non-peptide antagonists establish key contacts with a few amino acid residues of the receptor subtypes that are different from those involved in agonist binding. Moreover, these interactions are species-specific. These findings provide further understanding of the signal transduction pathways of AVP receptors and new leads for elucidation of drug-receptor interactions and optimization of drug design. NOTE TO THE READER: The recent cloning and molecular characterization of AVP/OT receptor subtypes call for the revision of their nomenclature. For the sake of clarity and reference to their main site of expression, we call the V1a receptor the V1 vascular receptor, the V2 receptor the V2 renal receptor and the V1b or V3 receptor the V3 pituitary receptor in the present review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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