Send to

Choose Destination
J Med Chem. 1989 Mar;32(3):698-703.

Dermorphin analogues carrying an increased positive net charge in their "message" domain display extremely high mu opioid receptor selectivity.

Author information

Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Peptide Research, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


According to the membrane compartment concept the receptor specificity of ligands is based not only on ligand-receptor complementarity but also on specific ligand-membrane interactions. Elaboration of this concept for opioid peptide-receptor interactions had led to the assumption that mu- and delta-receptors are located in anionic and cationic membrane compartments, respectively, and to the prediction that positively charged opioid receptor ligands should display mu-receptor selectivity. To assess the validity of this model, we synthesized a series of dermorphin analogues carrying a net positive charge and tested them in mu- and delta-receptor representative binding assays and bioassays. Some but not all of the prepared compounds showed the receptor-selectivity profile expected on the basis of the membrane compartment concept. In particular, gradual augmentation of the positive charge from 1+ to 3+ in a series of dermorphin-(1-4) tetrapeptide analogues produced an enhancement of mu-receptor affinity and a progressive decrease in delta-receptor affinity, resulting in increasingly higher mu-receptor selectivity. The most selective compound was [D-Arg2,Lys4]dermorphin-(1-4)-amide (DALDA), showing a selectivity ratio (Ki delta/Ki mu = 11,400) more than 10 times higher than that of DAGO (Ki delta /Ki mu = 1050) and, thus, displaying unprecedented mu-receptor specificity. Because of its high positive charge (3+), DALDA may be particularly useful as a very specific agonist for studying peripheral mu-receptor interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center