Annals of the New York academy of sciences vol:897 pages:388-400
A comparison of solution conformations of active, restricted-conformation analogues of two sequence-similar insect/vertebrate neuropeptide family pairs shed light on the potential existence of molecular evolutionary relationships. Analogues of the locustatachykins and the mammalian tachykinin substance P, containing a sterically hindered Aib-NMePhe/Tyr residue block, share similar low-energy turn conformations incorporating a cis peptide bond. Conversely, restricted conformation analogues of the insect kinins and the mammalian opiate peptide Tyr-W-MIF-1, with near identical C-terminal tetrapeptide sequences, adopt different conformations, The insect kinins adopt a cisPro 1-4 beta-turn, in which the Phe(1) is critical for bioactivity. Tyr-W-MIF-1 prefers a transPro 2-5 turn, and an additional N-terminal Phe severely inhibits mu-opiate receptor binding. Comparisons of the chemical/conformational requirements for receptor interaction are consistent with a distant evolutionary relationship between the insectatachykinins and tachykinins, but not between the insect kinins and Tyr-W-MIF-1. Therefore, analogues of the insect kinins with pest control potential can be readily designed to avoid mammalian interactions.