[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of 30 RCO-HfR-NH(2) derivatives show preference for the mouse MC1R vs MC3-5Rs. trans-4-HOC(6)H(4)CH=CHCO-HfR-NH(2) (13) [EC(50) (nM): MC1R 83, MC3R 20500, MC4R 18130 and MC5R 935; ratio 1:246:217:11] is 11 times more potent than the lead compound LK-394 Ph(CH(2))(3)CO-HfR-NH(2) (2) and only 11 times less potent than the native tridecapeptide alpha-MSH at mMC1R. Differences in conformations of 2 and 13 are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The melanocortin-3 and -4 receptors (MC3R, MC4R) have been implicated in energy homeostasis and obesity. Whereas the physiological role of the MC4R is extensively studied, little is known about the MC3R. One caveat is the limited availability of ligands that are selective for the MC3R. Previous studies identified Ac-His-DPhe(p-I)-Arg-Trp-NH 2, which possessed partial agonist/antagonist pharmacology at the mMC3R while retaining full nanomolar agonist pharmacology at the mMC4R. These data allowed for the hypothesis that the DPhe position in melanocortin tetrapeptides can be used to examine ligand side-chain determinants important for differentiation of mMC3R agonist versus antagonist activity. A series of 15 DPhe (7) modified Ac-His-DPhe (7)-Arg-Trp-NH 2 tetrapeptides has been synthesized and pharmacologically characterized. Most notable results include the identification of modifications that resulted in potent antagonists/partial agonists at the mMC3R and full, potent agonists at the mMC4R. These SAR studies provide experimental evidence that the molecular mechanism of antagonism at the mMC3R differentiates this subtype from the mMC4R.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tetrapeptide sequence His-Phe-Arg-Trp, derived from melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alphaMSH) and its analogs, causes a decrease in food intake and elevates energy utilization upon binding to the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R). To utilize this sequence as an effective agent for treating obesity, we improved its metabolic stability and intestinal permeability by synthesizing a library of backbone cyclic peptidomimetic derivatives. One analog, peptide 1 (BL3020-1), was selected according to its selectivity in activating the MC4R, its favorable transcellular penetration through enterocytes and its enhanced intestinal metabolic stability. This peptide was detected in the brain following oral administration to rats. A single oral dose of 0.5 mg/kg in mice led to reduced food consumption (up to 48% vs the control group) that lasted for 5 h. Repetitive once daily oral dosing (0.5 mg/kg/day) for 12 days reduced weight gain. Backbone cyclization was shown to produce a potential drug lead for treating obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Backbone cyclization (BC) and N-methylation have been shown to enhance the activity and/or selectivity of biologically active peptides and improve metabolic stability and intestinal permeability. In this study, we describe the synthesis, structure-activity relationship (SAR) and intestinal metabolic stability of a backbone cyclic peptide library, BL3020, based on the linear alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone analog Phe-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Gly. The drug lead, BL3020-1, selected from the BL3020 library (compound 1) has been shown to inhibit weight gain in mice following oral administration. Another member of the BL3020 library, BL3020-17, showed improved biological activity towards the mMC4R, in comparison to BL3020-1, although neither were selective for MC4R or MC5R. N-methylation, which restrains conformational freedom while increasing metabolic stability beyond that which is imparted by BC, was used to find analogs with increased selectivity. N-methylated backbone cyclic libraries were synthesized based on the BL3020 library. SAR studies showed that all the N-methylated backbone cyclic peptides demonstrated reduced biological activity and selectivity for all the analyzed receptors. N-methylation of active backbone cyclic peptides destabilized the active conformation or stabilized an inactive conformation, rendering the peptides biologically inactive. N-methylation of backbone cyclic peptides maintained stability to degradation by intestinal enzymes.