Synthesis and evaluation of bivalent NDP-alpha-MSH(7) peptide ligands for binding to the human melanocortin receptor 4 (hMC4R)

Bioconjug Chem. Jul-Aug 2007;18(4):1101-9. doi: 10.1021/bc0603642. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


We demonstrate the potential utility of multivalent ligands as targeting agents for cancer imaging or therapy by determining the binding of homobivalent ligands to their corresponding receptors. This manuscript details the synthesis and evaluation of a series of bivalent ligands containing two copies of the truncated heptapeptide version of [Nle4-D-Phe7]-alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (NDP-alpha-MSH), referred to as MSH(7). These were connected with various semirigid linkers containing Pro-Gly repeats, with or without flexible poly(ethylene glycol) (PEGO) moieties at their termini. Modeling data suggest a distance of 20-50 A between the ligand binding sites of two adjacent G-protein coupled receptors, GPCRs. These bivalent ligands were observed to bind with higher affinity compared to their monovalent counterparts. Data suggest these ligands may be capable of cross-linking adjacent receptors. An optimal linker length of 25 +/- 10 A, inferred from these ligands, correlated well with the inter-receptor distance estimated through modeling. Although there was no difference in maximal binding affinities between the ligands constructed with the Pro-Gly repeats versus those constructed with the PEGO inserts, the PEGO-containing ligands bound with high affinities over a greater range of linker lengths.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 4 / chemistry
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 4 / metabolism*
  • alpha-MSH / analogs & derivatives*
  • alpha-MSH / chemistry
  • alpha-MSH / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 4
  • alpha-MSH
  • MSH, 4-Nle-7-Phe-alpha-