Cyclic Opioid Peptides

Described in PeptideScience, researchers in the Peter Schiller Group, synthesized and pharmacologically characterized in vitro, head-to-tail cyclized analogs of the µ opioid receptor, MOR, agonist tetrapeptides DALDA (H‐Tyr‐D‐Arg‐Phe‐Lys‐NH2 and [Dmt1]DALDA (H‐Dmt‐D‐Arg‐Phe‐Lys‐NH2; Dmt = 2′,6′-dimethyltyrosine) and their enantiomers, mirror-image isomers.

Three pairs of enantiomeric cyclic peptides with both mirror-image isomers having equipotent MOR binding affinities but different binding affinities at the δ and κ opioid receptors were identified. The cyclic peptide enantiomers c[‐D‐Arg‐Phe‐Lys‐Tyr‐] (1) and c[‐Arg‐D‐Phe‐D‐Lys‐D‐Tyr‐] (2), showed nearly identical MOR binding affinity (1-2 nM) and equipotent MOR antagonist activity. 

The results of a MOR docking study indicated a very similar binding mode of the two enantiomers with nearly complete spatial overlap of the peptide ring structures and side chain interactions with the same MOR residues. Compounds 1 and 2 represent the first pair of enantiomeric G-protein-coupled receptor, GPCR, ligands having multiple chiral centers, with both optical antipodes showing equal, low nanomolar receptor binding affinity.

Equipotent Enantiomers of Cyclic Opioid Peptides at μ Opioid Receptor
Wenyi Li, Neil M. O'Brien‐Simpson, James A. Holden, Laszlo Otvos, Eric C. Reynolds, Frances Separovic, Mohammed Akhter Hossain, John D. Wade
Peptide Science, Volume 110, Issue 3, Special Issue: Emerging Peptide Science in Australia, May 2018