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Peptides. 2008 May;29(5):658-73. Epub 2007 Aug 19.

Structure-activity relationships of urotensin II and URP.

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Inserm U413, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France.


Urotensin II (U-II) and urotensin II-related peptide (URP) are the endogenous ligands for the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor GPR14 now renamed UT. At the periphery, U-II and/or URP exert a wide range of biological effects on cardiovascular tissues, airway smooth muscles, kidney and endocrine glands, while central administration of U-II elicits various behavioral and cardiovascular responses. There is also evidence that U-II and/or URP may be involved in a number of pathological conditions including heart failure, atherosclerosis, renal dysfunction and diabetes. Because of the potential involvement of the urotensinergic system in various physiopathological processes, there is need for the rational design of potent and selective ligands for the UT receptor. Structure-activity relationship studies have shown that the minimal sequence required to retain full biological activity is the conserved U-II(4-11) domain, in particular the Cys5 and Cys10 residues involved in the disulfide bridge, and the Phe6, Lys8 and Tyr9 residues. Free alpha-amino group and C-terminal COOH group are not necessary for the biological activity, and modifications of these radicals may even increase the stability of the analogs. Punctual substitution of native amino acids, notably Phe6 and Trp7, by particular residues generates analogs with antagonistic properties. These studies, which provide crucial information regarding the structural and conformational requirements for ligand-receptor interactions, will be of considerable importance for the design of novel UT ligands with increased selectivity, potency and stability, that may eventually lead to the development of innovative drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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