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Molecular Docking of Opiates and Opioid Peptides, a Tool for the Design of Selective Agonists and Antagonists, and for the Investigation of Atypical Ligand-Receptor Interactions

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In the last years, molecular docking emerged as a powerful tool to investigate the interactions between opioid ligands and their receptors, thus driving the design and development of new selective agonists or antagonists of therapeutic interest. This review especially covers the most representative and recent comparative molecular docking analyses of structurally related compounds, as well as of agonists and antagonists within the active and inactive states of the receptors. The comparative analyses gave important information on the structural determinants responsible for the affinity and selectivity of the ligands, and defined the features responsible for the activation of the receptors. A special section is dedicated to the analyses of recently discovered, unusual agonists lacking of the tyramine pharmacophore, such as Salvinorin A, and the cyclopeptides which comprise the D-Trp-Phe pharmacophoric motif. For the atypical structure of these compounds, the docking proved to be essential to disclose how they interact with and activate the receptors.
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Keywords: D-Trp-Phe; GPCR; JOM; Opioid receptors; conformational analysis; endomorphin; fentanyl; ligand-receptor interactions; molecular docking; morphine; peptides; salvinorin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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