Molecular recognition of peptide and non-peptide ligands by the extracellular domains of neurohypophysial hormone receptors

John Howl, Mark Wheatley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to ascertain whether the extracellular loops of vasopressin/oxytocin receptors bind ligands and, if so, to locate the molecular determinants of this ligand-receptor interaction. Ligand-binding studies were employed using a rat liver V(1a) vasopressin receptor preparation and both peptide and non-peptide receptor ligands. Synthetic peptides corresponding to defined regions of the extracellular surface of the neurohypophysial hormone receptors recognized radioligands. These receptor mimetics inhibited the binding of radioligands to the V(1a) receptor with apparent affinities (pK(i)) ranging from 3.1 to 6.75. The same mimetics had no effect on the binding of angiotensin II to the rat AT1 receptor, indicating specificity for V(1a) receptor ligands. A mimetic peptide (DITYRFRGPDWL) of the first extracellular loop (ECII) of the V(1a) vasopressin receptor also inhibited vasopressin-stimulated, but not angiotensin II-stimulated, glycogen phosphorylase in isolated rat hepatocytes. In contrast, scrambled ECII mimetics displayed greatly reduced affinity for vasopressin. In addition, the role of peptide sidechain versus main-chain atoms in the binding of ligands by vasopressin receptors was addressed using retro-inverso peptide mimetics. Our findings indicate a precise orientation of the extracellular receptor surface (particularly the ECII domain) which facilitates the initial 'capture' of both peptide and non-peptide ligands. Moreover, the data indicate that the main-chain atoms of both a major binding-site determinant in the first extracellular loop of the receptor and the neurohypophysial hormones contribute significantly to the ligand-receptor interaction. These findings also suggest that soluble receptor-binding domains have therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-582
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular recognition of peptide and non-peptide ligands by the extracellular domains of neurohypophysial hormone receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this