Original Articles

Molecular modeling on kappa opioid receptor and its interaction with nonpeptide kappa opioid agonists

Dong-xiang Liu, Hua-liang Jiang, Jing-shan Shen, Wei-liang Zhu, Lei Zhao, Kai-xian Chen, Ru-yun Ji


To study the interaction between kappa-opioid receptor and its nonpeptide agonists.
The ""conservation patterns"" for G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) were used to determine 7 transmembrane (TM) regions. Taking the crystallographic coordinates of bacteriorhodopsin (BR) as the template, the 3D structural model was constructed for 7 TM of kappa-opioid subtype with molecular mechanics (MM) method. Five highly active nonpeptide kappa-opioid agonists were docked into the 7 helices of kappa-opioid receptor to study the ligand-receptor interaction.
Four important interactions between U-50488-like agonists and kappa-opioid receptors were drawn according to our modeling study: (1) the protonated pyrrolidine nitrogen of the ligands formed a hydrogen-bond with the carboxyl of Asp138; (2) the carbonyl oxygen of ligands forms a hydrogen bond to the hydroxyl of Ser187; (3) the aryl groups connected to acylamide of the agonists inserted into a hydrophobic cavity enclosed by residues Val239, Val236, Phe235, Val232, Leu186, and Trp183; (4) the pyrrolidine of the ligands in the complexes was surrounded by Ile290, Asp138, Ile194, Ile135, and Cys131.
The proposed interaction mechanism is helpful for further mutant experiments and designing novel potent kappa-opioid agonists.

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