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J Med Chem. 2005 Nov 17;48(23):7290-7.

Urotensin-II receptor ligands. From agonist to antagonist activity.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Chemistry, University of Naples Federico II, I-80131 Naples, Italy.


Urotensin II (U-II) is a disulfide bridged peptide hormone recently identified as the ligand of a G-protein-coupled receptor. Human U-II (H-Glu-Thr-Pro-Asp-cyclo[Cys-Phe-Trp-Lys-Tyr-Cys]-Val-OH) has been described as the most potent vasoconstrictor compound identified to date. We have recently identified both a superagonist of hU-II termed P5U and the compound termed urantide, which is the most potent UT receptor peptide antagonist described to date. Our previous conformational studies showed that hU-II and its analogues with agonist activity adopt a well-defined type II' beta-hairpin structure in anisotropic SDS membrane-like environment. This structural arrangement allows tight contact among the Trp7, Lys8, and Tyr9 side chains, which is fundamental to obtain full agonist activity. Here, we report an extensive SAR study on new analogues with agonist/antagonist activity on UT receptor. We investigated their biological activity and performed a conformational analysis by spectroscopic and computational methods. Our goal is to obtain a structure-based model able to explain the agonist/antagonist functional switching of these ligands.

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