Three-dimensional models of histamine H3 receptor antagonist complexes and their pharmacophore

J Mol Graph Model. 2006 May;24(6):456-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2005.10.005. Epub 2005 Dec 28.


Molecular modeling was used to analyze the binding mode and activities of histamine H3 receptor antagonists. A model of the H3 receptor was constructed through homology modeling methods based on the crystal structure of bovine rhodopsin. Known H3 antagonists were interactively docked into the putative antagonist binding pocket and the resultant model was subjected to molecular mechanics energy minimization and molecular dynamics simulations which included a continuum model of the lipid bilayer and intra- and extracellular aqueous environments surrounding the transmembrane helices. The transmembrane helices stayed well embedded in the dielectric slab representing the lipid bilayer and the intra- and extracellular loops remain situated in the aqueous solvent region of the model during molecular dynamics simulations of up to 200 ps in duration. A pharmacophore model was calculated by mapping the features common to three active compounds three-dimensionally in space. The 3D pharmacophore model complements our atomistic receptor/ligand modeling. The H3 antagonist pharmacophore consists of two protonation sites (i.e. basic centers) connected by a central aromatic ring or hydrophobic region. These two basic sites can simultaneously interact with Asp 114 (3.32) in helix III and a Glu 206 (5.46) in helix V which are believed to be the key residues that histamine interacts with to stabilize the receptor in the active state. The interaction with Glu 206 is consistent with the enhanced activity resulting from the additional basic site. In addition to these two salt bridging interactions, the central region of these antagonists contains a lipophilic group, usually an aromatic ring, that is found to interact with several nearby hydrophobic side chains. The picture of antagonist binding provided by these models is consistent with earlier pharmacophore models for H3 antagonists with some exceptions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computer Simulation
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Histamine Antagonists / chemistry
  • Histamine Antagonists / metabolism*
  • Histamine Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Receptors, Histamine H3 / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Histamine H3 / metabolism*
  • Rhodopsin / chemistry
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Temperature
  • Water / chemistry


  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Ligands
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Receptors, Histamine H3
  • Solvents
  • Water
  • Rhodopsin