Efforts to understand the chemical‐physical basis for peptide hormone and neurotransmitter action requires integration of conformational parameters and biological properties. Since most peptide hormones are conformationally flexible, the question arises as to which of the manifold of conformations is of biological significance. In molecular terms, it is necessary to carefully distinguish chemical‐physical features important to binding (the binding message) from those involved in transduction (the biological activity message). One approach to this involves the design, synthesis, and conformational analysis of semirigid hormone analogs. The distinction between binding and transduction can best be examined by evaluation of full biological profiles of partial agonists, antagonists, and analogs with prolonged biological activity. Using this multidisciplinary approach, we have prepared several semirigid [Pen1]‐oxytocin antagonist analogs and evaluated their conformational properties and biological activities. Specific conformational features can be related to inhibitory activities in several cases. On the basis of structure–activity relationships and conformational considerations, we have designed a series of conformationally restricted cyclic and acyclic analogs of the linear peptide α‐melanotropin. Some of these peptides have exceptionally prolonged in vivo activity (weeks), and others exhibit superagonist potency (10,000 times the native hormone). We have evidence that potency and prolonged activity have different structural and conformational requirements. It is suggested that potency is primarily a function of receptor recognition (the binding message), whereas prolonged activity is related to transduction (the biological activity message).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry