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J Med Chem. 2004 Apr 22;47(9):2194-207.

Identification of putative agouti-related protein(87-132)-melanocortin-4 receptor interactions by homology molecular modeling and validation using chimeric peptide ligands.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA.


Agouti-related protein (AGRP) is one of only two naturally known antagonists of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) identified to date. Specifically, AGRP antagonizes the brain melanocortin-3 and -4 receptors involved in energy homeostasis. Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) is one of the known endogenous agonists for these melanocortin receptors. Insight into putative interactions between the antagonist AGRP amino acids with the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) may be important for the design of unique ligands for the treatment of obesity related diseases and is currently lacking in the literature. A three-dimensional homology molecular model of the mouse MC4 receptor complex with the hAGRP(87-132) ligand docked into the receptor has been developed to identify putative antagonist ligand-receptor interactions. Key putative AGRP-MC4R interactions include the Arg111 of hAGRP(87-132) interacting in a negatively charged pocket located in a cavity formed by transmembrane spanning (TM) helices 1, 2, 3, and 7, capped by the acidic first extracellular loop (EL1) and specifically with the conserved melanocortin receptor residues mMC4R Glu92 (TM2), mMC4R Asp114 (TM3), and mMC4R Asp118 (TM3). Additionally, Phe112 and Phe113 of hAGRP(87-132) putatively interact with an aromatic hydrophobic pocket formed by the mMC4 receptor residues Phe176 (TM4), Phe193 (TM5), Phe253 (TM6), and Phe254 (TM6). To validate the AGRP-mMC4R model complex presented herein from a ligand perspective, we generated nine chimeric peptide ligands based on a modified antagonist template of the hAGRP(109-118) (Tyr-c[Asp-Arg-Phe-Phe-Asn-Ala-Phe-Dpr]-Tyr-NH(2)). In these chimeric ligands, the antagonist AGRP Arg-Phe-Phe residues were replaced by the melanocortin agonist His/D-Phe-Arg-Trp amino acids. These peptides resulted in agonist activity at the mouse melanocortin receptors (mMC1R and mMC3-5Rs). The most notable results include the identification of a novel subnanomolar melanocortin peptide template Tyr-c[Asp-His-DPhe-Arg-Trp-Asn-Ala-Phe-Dpr]-Tyr-NH(2) that is equipotent to alpha-MSH at the mMC1, mMC3, and mMC5 receptors but is 30-fold more potent than alpha-MSH at the mMC4R. Additionally, these studies identified a new and novel >200-fold MC4R versus MC3R selective peptide Tyr-c[Asp-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Asn-Ala-Phe-Dpr]-Tyr-NH(2) template. Furthermore, when the His-DPhe-Arg-Trp sequence is used to replace the hAGRP Arg-Phe-Phe residues in the "mini"-AGRP (hAGRP87-120, C105A) template, a potent nanomolar agonist resulted at the mMC1R and MC3-5Rs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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