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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutational analysis and molecular modeling of the binding pocket of the metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor negative modulator 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine.

Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) 5 is a G-protein-coupled metabotropic glutamate receptor that plays an important role as a modulator of synaptic plasticity, ion channel activity, and excitotoxicity. 2-Methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine ( MPEP) is a highly potent, noncompetitive, selective, and systemically active antagonist of mGlu5 receptors. It binds to a novel allosteric site that resides within the seven-transmembrane domain of mGlu5 receptors. Using site-directed mutagenesis, [3H]MPEP binding, a functional Ca2+ mobilization assay, and rhodopsin-based homology modeling, we identified eight residues (Pro-6543.36, Tyr-6583.40, Leu-7435.47, Thr-7806.44, Trp-7846.48, Phe-7876.51, Tyr-7916.55, and Ala-8097.47) that are crucial for MPEP- binding to rat mGlu5 receptors. Four mutations, Y6583.40V, W7846.48A, F7876.51A, and A8097.47V, caused complete loss of [3H]MPEP binding and also blocked the MPEP-mediated inhibition of quisqualate-induced intracellular Ca2+ mobilization. To visualize these experimental findings, we have constructed a homology model based on the X-ray crystal of bovine rhodopsin and have suggested a possible binding mode of MPEP. We propose that MPEP via its interactions with a network of the aromatic residues including Phe-6583.40 in transmembrane (TM) 3 helix and Trp-7986.48, Phe-7876.51, and Tyr-7916.55 in TM6 helix prevents the movement of TM6 helix relative to TM3 helix, a step that is required for receptor activation, and consequently stabilizes the inactive conformation of mGlu5 receptor. In the TM6 region, we observed a striking similarity between the critical residues involved in MPEP- binding site with those of previously identified as 1-ethyl-2-methyl-6-oxo-4-(1,2,4,5-tetrahydro-benzo[d]azepin-3-yl)-1,6-dihydropyrimidine-5-carbonitrile- binding pocket of mGlu1, pointing to a common mechanism of inhibition shared by both antagonists.[1]


  1. Mutational analysis and molecular modeling of the binding pocket of the metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor negative modulator 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine. Malherbe, P., Kratochwil, N., Zenner, M.T., Piussi, J., Diener, C., Kratzeisen, C., Fischer, C., Porter, R.H. Mol. Pharmacol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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