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J Med Chem. 2011 Mar 10;54(5):1379-90. doi: 10.1021/jm101425m. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Incorporation of a bioactive reverse-turn heterocycle into a peptide template using solid-phase synthesis to probe melanocortin receptor selectivity and ligand conformations by 2D 1H NMR.

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Department of Pharmacodynamics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, United States.


By use of a solid-phase synthetic approach, a bioactive reverse turn heterocycle was incorporated into a cyclic peptide template to probe melanocortin receptor potency and ligand structural conformations. The five melanocortin receptor isoforms (MC1R-MC5R) are G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are regulated by endogenous agonists and antagonists. This pathway is involved in pigmentation, weight, and energy homeostasis. Herein, we report novel analogues of the chimeric AGRP-melanocortin peptide template integrated with a small molecule moiety to probe the structural and functional consequences of the core His-Phe-Arg-Trp peptide domain using a reverse-turn heterocycle. A series of six compounds are reported that result in inactive to full agonists with nanomolar potency. Biophysical structural analysis [2D (1)H NMR and computer-assisted molecular modeling (CAMM)] were performed on selected analogues, resulting in the identification that these peptide-small molecule hybrids possessed increased flexibility and fewer discrete conformational families compared to the reference peptide and result in a novel template for further structure-function studies.

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