The opioid agonists endomorphins (Tyr-Pro-Trp-Phe-NH(2); EM1 and Tyr-Pro-Phe-Phe-NH(2); EM2) and morphiceptin (Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-NH(2)) exhibit an extremely high selectivity for mu-opioid receptor. Here a series of novel EM2 and morphiceptin analogues containing in place of the proline at position 2 the S and R residues of beta-homologues of proline (HPro), of 2-pyrrolidinemethanesulphonic acid (HPrs) and of 3-pyrrolidinesulphonic acid (betaPrs) have been synthesized and their binding affinity and functional activity have been investigated. The highest micro-receptor affinity is shown by [(S)betaPrs(2)]EM2 analogue (6e) which represents the first example of a beta-sulphonamido analogue in the field of opioid peptides.
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