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Peptides. 2007 Dec;28(12):2411-34. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

From MIF-1 to endomorphin: the Tyr-MIF-1 family of peptides.

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  • 1Blood-Brain Barrier Group, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.


The Tyr-MIF-1 family of small peptides has served a prototypic role in the introduction of several novel concepts into the peptide field of research. MIF-1 (Pro-Leu-Gly-NH(2)) was the first hypothalamic peptide shown to act "up" on the brain, not just "down" on the pituitary. In several situations, including clinical depression, MIF-1 exhibits an inverted U-shaped dose-response relationship in which increasing doses can result in decreasing effects. This tripeptide also can antagonize opiate actions, and the first report of such activity also correctly predicted the discovery of other endogenous antiopiate peptides. The tetrapeptide Tyr-MIF-1 (Tyr-Pro-Leu-Gly-NH(2)) not only shows antiopiate activity, but also considerable selectivity for the mu-opiate binding site. Tyr-W-MIF-1 (Tyr-Pro-Trp-Gly-NH(2)) is an even more selective ligand for the mu receptor, leading to the discovery of two more Tyr-Pro tetrapeptides that have the highest specificity and affinity for this site. These are the endomorphins: endomorphin-1 is Tyr-Pro-Trp-Phe-NH(2) and endomorphin-2 is Tyr-Pro-Phe-Phe-NH(2). Tyr-MIF-1 proved, contrary to the then prevailing dogma, that peptides can be saturably transported across the blood-brain barrier by a quantifiable transport system. Unexpectedly, the Tyr-MIF-1 transporter is shared with Met-enkephalin. In the era in which it was doubtful whether a peripheral peptide could exert CNS effects, the Tyr-MIF-1 family of peptides also explicitly showed that they can exert more than one central action that persists longer than their half-lives in blood. These peptides clearly illustrate that the name of a peptide restricts neither its actions nor its conceptual implications.

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