"In silico" study of the binding of two novel antagonists to the nociceptin receptor

Stefano Della Longa, Alessandro Arcovito

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

6 Citazioni (Scopus)


Antagonists of the nociceptin receptor (NOP) are raising interest for their possible clinical use as antidepressant drugs. Recently, the structure of NOP in complex with some piperidine-based antagonists has been revealed by X-ray crystallography. In this study, a multi-flexible docking (MF-docking) procedure, i.e. docking to multiple receptor conformations extracted by preliminary molecular dynamics trajectories, together with hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulations have been carried out to provide the binding mode of two novel NOP antagonists, one of them selective (BTRX-246040, formerly named LY-2940094) and one non selective (AT-076), i.e. able to inactivate NOP as well as the classical µ- k- and δ-opioid receptors (MOP KOP and DOP). According to our results, the pivotal role of residue D1303,32 (upper indexes are Ballesteros-Weinstein notations) is analogous to that enlighten by the already known X-ray structures of opioid receptors: binding of the molecules are predicted to require a slight readjustment of the hydrophobic pocket (residues Y1313,33, M1343,36, I2195,43, Q2806,52 and V2836,55) in the orthosteric site of NOP, accommodating either the pyridine-pyrazole (BTRX-246040) or the isoquinoline (AT-076) moiety of the ligand, in turn allowing the protonated piperidine nitrogen to maximize interaction (salt-bridge) with residue D1303,32 of the NOP, and the aromatic head to be sandwiched in optimal π-stacking between Y1313,33 and M1343,36. The QM/MM optimization after the MF-docking procedure has provided the more likely conformations for the binding to the NOP receptor of BTRX-246040 and AT-076, based on different pharmacophores and exhibiting different selectivity profiles. While the high selectivity for NOP of BTRX-246040 can be explained by interactions with NOP specific residues, the lack of selectivity of AT-076 could be associated to its ability to penetrate into the deep hydrophobic pocket of NOP, while retaining a conformation very similar to the one assumed by the antagonist JDTic into the K-opioid receptor. The proposed binding geometries fit better the binding pocket environment providing clues for experimental studies aimed to design selective or multifunctional opioid drugs
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Numero di pagine16
RivistaJournal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • AT-076
  • Antidepressant drugs
  • BTRX-246040
  • Docking
  • GPCR
  • LY2940094
  • Molecular dynamics
  • N/OFQ
  • NOPR antagonists
  • OPRX
  • Opioid receptor
  • QM/MM


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