Molecular modeling of neurokinin B and tachykinin NK₃ receptor complex

J Chem Inf Model. 2011 Nov 28;51(11):2932-8. doi: 10.1021/ci2000264. Epub 2011 Oct 14.


The tachykinin receptor NK₃ is a member of the rhodopsin family of G-protein coupled receptors. The NK₃ receptor has been regarded as an important drug target due to diverse physiological functions and its possible role in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. The NK3 receptor is primarily activated by the tachykinin peptide hormone neurokinin B (NKB) which is the most potent natural agonist for the NK₃ receptor. NKB has been reported to play a vital role in the normal human reproduction pathway and in potentially life threatening diseases such as pre-eclampsia and as a neuroprotective agent in the case of neurodegenerative diseases. Agonist binding to the receptor is a critical event in initiating signaling, and therefore a characterization of the structural features of the agonists can reveal the molecular basis of receptor activation and help in rational design of novel therapeutics. In this study a molecular model for the interaction of the primary ligand NKB with its G-protein coupled receptor NK₃ has been developed. A three-dimensional model for the NK₃ receptor has been generated by homology modeling using rhodopsin as a template. A knowledge based docking of the NMR derived bioactive conformation of NKB to the receptor has been performed utilizing limited ligand binding data obtained from photoaffinity labeling and site-directed mutagenesis studies. A molecular model for the NKB-NK₃ receptor complex obtained sheds light on the topographical features of the binding pocket of the receptor and provides insight into the biochemical data currently available for the receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurokinin B / chemistry*
  • Neurokinin B / metabolism
  • Neurokinin B / pharmacology
  • Photoaffinity Labels / analysis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / drug therapy
  • Pre-Eclampsia / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / agonists
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / metabolism
  • Rhodopsin / agonists
  • Rhodopsin / chemistry*
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism
  • Structural Homology, Protein


  • Ligands
  • Photoaffinity Labels
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3
  • Neurokinin B
  • Rhodopsin