6'-Guanidinonaltrindole (6'-GNTI) is a G protein-biased κ-opioid receptor agonist that inhibits arrestin recruitment

J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 3;287(32):27050-4. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C112.387332. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


κ-Opioid receptor (KOR) agonists do not activate the reward pathway stimulated by morphine-like μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists and thus have been considered to be promising nonaddictive analgesics. However, KOR agonists produce other adverse effects, including dysphoria, diuresis, and constipation. The therapeutic promise of KOR agonists has nonetheless recently been revived by studies showing that their dysphoric effects require arrestin recruitment, whereas their analgesic effects do not. Moreover, KOR agonist-induced antinociceptive tolerance observed in vivo has also been proposed to be correlated to the ability to induce arrestin-dependent phosphorylation, desensitization, and internalization of the receptor. The discovery of functionally selective drugs that are therapeutically effective without the adverse effects triggered by the arrestin pathway is thus an important goal. We have identified such an extreme G protein-biased KOR compound, 6'-guanidinonaltrindole (6'-GNTI), a potent partial agonist at the KOR receptor for the G protein activation pathway that does not recruit arrestin. Indeed, 6'-GNTI functions as an antagonist to block the arrestin recruitment and KOR internalization induced by other nonbiased agonists. As an extremely G protein-biased KOR agonist, 6'-GNTI represents a promising lead compound in the search for nonaddictive opioid analgesic as its signaling profile suggests that it will be without the dysphoria and other adverse effects promoted by arrestin recruitment and its downstream signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arrestin / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Guanidines / pharmacology*
  • Naltrexone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • 6'-guanidinonaltrindole
  • Arrestin
  • Guanidines
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Naltrexone
  • GTP-Binding Proteins