Peptide hormones and neurotransmitters are of central importance in most aspects of intercellular communication and are involved in virtually all degenerative diseases. In this review, we discuss physicochemical approaches to the design of novel peptide and peptidomimetic agonists, antagonists, inverse agonists, and related compounds that have unique biological activity profiles, reduced toxic side effects, and, if desired, the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Designing ligands for specific biological and medical needs is emphasized, as is the close collaboration of chemists and biologists to maximize the chances for success. Special emphasis is placed on the use of conformational (ϕ-ψ space) and topographical (χ space) considerations in design.
PMID: 19454250;PMCID: PMC2783692;Abstract:
A procedure has been developed for directly depositing membrane fragments derived from bacterial cells (chromatophores from Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides) and mammalian cells (μ-opioid receptor- and MC4 receptor-transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and rat trigeminal ganglion cells) on the silica surface of a plasmon-waveguide resonance (PWR) spectrometer. Binding of ligands (cytochrome c2 for the chromatophores, the peptide agonists DAMGO and melanotan-II that are specific for the μ-opioid and MC4 receptors, and two nonpeptide agonists that are specific for the CB1 receptor) to these membrane fragments has been observed and characterized with high sensitivity using PWR spectral shifts. The KD values obtained are in excellent agreement with conventional pharmacological assays and with prior PWR studies using purified receptors inserted into deposited lipid bilayer membranes. These studies provide a new tool for obtaining useful biological information about receptor-mediated processes in real biological membranes. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.