Peptides as Receptor Selectivity Modulators of Opiate Pharmacophores

A. W. Lipkowski, S. W. Tam, Philip S Portoghese

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66 Scopus citations


In an effort to investigate whether “address” segments of endogenous opioid peptides, which are responsible for modulating receptor selectivity, also could modulate the selectivity of opioid alkaloid pharmacophores, we have synthesized analogues of leucine-enkephalin and dynorphin(l-8) in which the N-terminal dipeptide “message” sequence has been replaced by oxymorphone or naltrexone. A hydrazone group was employed as a linkage between the alkaloids and peptides. The binding data for µ, κ, and δ receptors indicate that peptide portions of the analogues can modulate the receptor selectivity of the attached alkaloid pharmacophores. The selectivity for different opioid receptor types depends on a balance between the affinities of the message and address components. In cases where these components have comparable receptor affinities, the address can significantly shift selectivity by increasing affinity to one receptor type while reducing affinity to other types. When the message component has high affinity for a particular receptor type, the modulatory role of the address is expressed mainly by reducing the affinity of the ligand for other opioid receptor types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1222-1225
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of medicinal chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


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