The Met852 residue is a key organizer of the ligand-binding cavity of the human mineralocorticoid receptor

Mol Pharmacol. 2005 May;67(5):1714-22. doi: 10.1124/mol.104.010710. Epub 2005 Feb 16.


Spirolactones harboring various C7 substituents are aldosterone antagonists, and some of them are used in the treatment of essential hypertension. They bind to the human mineralocorticoid receptor and render it transcriptionally inactive. Structural analysis using a three-dimensional homology model of the ligand-binding domain of the receptor has revealed that the Met852 residue of the ligand-binding cavity faces the C7 substituent of spirolactones. We therefore tested the binding capacities of C7-substituted spirolactones in an in vitro system expressing either the mutant receptor, in which Met852 was replaced by alanine, or the wild-type receptor. The M852A mutation had almost no effect on the binding of C7-substituted spirolactones to mineralocorticoid receptor but dramatically reduced the capacity of the receptor to bind steroids with no C7 substituent (aldosterone, cortisol, deoxycorticosterone, and canrenone). cis-trans Cotransfection assays revealed that two spirolactones characterized by having a propyl group [7 alpha-propyl-17 alpha-hydroxy-3-oxo-preg-4-ene-21-carboxylic acid gamma-lactone (RU26752)] or a thioacetyl group (spironolactone) at the C7 position acquired agonist properties when bound to the mutant receptor. In contrast, mexrenone and eplerenone, both of which harbor an acetyl group at the C7 position, retained antagonist properties when bound to the mutant receptor. Overall, these findings indicate that Met852 acts as an organizer residue that plays two major roles: 1) it allows steroids with no substituent at the C7 position to be accommodated within the ligand-binding cavity; and 2) it is involved in the steric hindrance that prevents C7-substituted spirolactones from folding the receptor in its active state.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Ligands*
  • Methionine / chemistry
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid / chemistry
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid
  • Methionine