Peptoid NPhe4in AGRP-Based c[Pro1-Arg2-Phe3-Phe4-Xxx5-Ala6-Phe7-DPro8] Scaffolds Maintain Mouse MC4R Antagonist Potency

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The melanocortin receptors are involved in numerous physiological functions and are regulated by agonists derived from the proopiomelanocortin gene transcript and two endogenous antagonists, agouti and agouti-related protein (AGRP). The key binding and functional determinant of AGRP, an MC3R and MC4R antagonist, is an Arg-Phe-Phe tripeptide sequence located on an exposed hexapeptide (Arg-Phe-Phe-Asn-Ala-Phe) loop. It has previously been observed that cyclizing this sequence through a DPro-Pro motif (c[Pro1-Arg2-Phe3-Phe4-Asn5-Ala6-Phe7-DPro8]) resulted in a macrocyclic scaffold with MC4R antagonist activity, with increased MC4R potency when a diaminopropionic acid (Dap) residue is substituted at position 5. In this report, a series of 11 single-peptoid substitutions were performed in the AGRP-derived macrocycles. While most peptoid substitutions decreased MC4R antagonist potency, it was observed that NPhe4 (compounds 4 and 11) or NDab5 (diaminobutyric acid, compound 7) maintained MC4R antagonist potency. The NPhe4 substitutions also resulted in MC5R antagonist and inverse agonist activity equipotent to the parent scaffolds. These data may be used in the design of future MC4R and MC5R antagonist leads and probes that possess increased metabolic stability due to the presence of peptoid residues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1948
Number of pages7
JournalACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by NIH Grant R01DK091906, as well as by a 2017 Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund Award through the University of Minnesota. Mark D. Ericson was a recipient of an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32DK108402).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • AGRP
  • Melanocortin receptors
  • macrocycle
  • peptoid


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