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

Changes in opioid receptor selectivity following processing of peptide E: effect on gut motility.

Peptide E is a mu-selective opioid peptide derived from proenkephalin A which contains [Met5]-enkephalin at the amino end and [Leu5]-enkephalin at the carboxyl end. Peptide E is further processed both centrally and peripherally to a [Leu5]-enkephalin-containing fragment which was investigated to determine if processing leads to alterations in receptor selectivity. Peptide E-(15-25) inhibited electrically stimulated contractions in both the mouse vas deferens, longitudinal muscle, myenteric (IC50 = 459 nmol/L), and guinea pig ileum (IC50 = 2630 nmol/L), indicating a sixfold delta-receptor selectivity. When administered intracerebroventricularly to mice, peptide E-(15-25) also produced potent analgesia which was completely antagonized by naloxone pretreatment, but the peptide had no effect on intestinal transit as measured by the radiochromium geometric center method. This is consistent with earlier findings that intracerebroventricular delta-opioid-selective agents are analgesic but do not inhibit intestinal transit. In vitro radioligand binding assays were performed using male Sprague-Dawley rat whole brain homogenates. The IC50 for peptide E against [3H]naloxone was 1.8 nmol/L compared with the delta-opioid ligand, [3H] [D-Pen2, D-Pen5]-enkephalin of 38.8 nmol/L. The IC50 for peptide E-(15-25) against [3H]naloxone was 497 nmol/L, but for [3H] [D-Pen2, D-Pen5]-enkephalin it was 50.6 nmol/L. Therefore, peptide E loses mu-opioid receptor affinity (1.8-497 nmol/L) after proteolytic processing and the loss of the amino terminal tyrosine but maintains a high delta-opioid affinity (38.8-50.6 nmol/L). These studies demonstrate that enzymatic peptide processing of peptide E to peptide E-(15-25) leads to a shift from mu- to delta-receptor selectivity and a different spectrum of biological effects on gut motility.[1]


  1. Changes in opioid receptor selectivity following processing of peptide E: effect on gut motility. Davis, T.P., Gillespie, T.J., Shook, J., Kramer, T.H., Hoyer, G., Hawkins, K., Davis, P., Yamamura, H.I., Burks, T.F. Gastroenterology (1991) [Pubmed]
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