Journal of peptide research vol:57 issue:4 pages:337-344
The relationship between the conformation and biological activity of Leu-enkephalin was studied using (2S,6R,8S)-9-oxo-8-N-(Boc)amino-1-azabicyclo[4.3.0]nonane-2-carboxylic acid [(2S,6R,8S)-1, I(9)AA] as a constrained Gly(2)-Gly(3) dipeptide surrogate. [I(9)AA](2,3)-Leu-enkephalin 12 was assembled using solid-phase peptide synthesis on Merrifield resin with TBTU as the coupling reagent. The in vitro assays indicated that [I(9)AA](2,3)-Leu-enkephalin 12 exhibited affinities for the mu- and delta -opioid receptors that were three orders of magnitude lower than that of Leu-enkephalin, as well as partial agonist character for both receptors. In in vivo assays for spinal analgesia, the indolizidinone analog 12 showed significantly enhanced duration of action, indicating an increased metabolic stability. Conformational analysis was performed using NMR and CD spectroscopy. The amide temperature coefficients and (3)J(NH-C alphaH) coupling constants for 12 could not support a hydrogen-bonded beta -turn structure; however, its CD spectrum indicated a turn conformation. Incorporation of indolizidinone amino acid 1 into Leu-enkephalin thus provided additional support for the importance of a turn conformation for the biological activity of the native peptide.