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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2008 Aug 1;18(15):4401-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2008.06.053. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Benzodiazepine ligands can act as allosteric modulators of the Type 1 cholecystokinin receptor.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic, 13400 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


The cholecystokinin (CCK(1)) receptor is a G protein-coupled receptor important for nutrient homeostasis. The molecular basis of CCK-receptor binding has been debated, with one prominent model suggesting occupation of the same region of the intramembranous helical bundle as benzodiazepines. Here, we used a specific assay of allosteric ligand interaction to probe the mode of binding of devazepide, a prototypic benzodiazepine ligand. Devazepide elicited marked slowing of dissociation of pre-bound CCK, only possible through binding to a topographically distinct allosteric site. This effect was disrupted by chemical modification of a cysteine in the benzodiazepine-binding pocket. Application of an allosteric model to the equilibrium interaction between a series of benzodiazepine ligands and CCK yielded quantitative estimates of each modulator's affinity for the allosteric site, as well as the degree of negative cooperativity for the interaction between occupied orthosteric and allosteric sites. The allosteric nature of benzodiazepine binding to the CCK(1) receptor provides new opportunities for small molecule drug development.

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