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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Deltorphins: a family of naturally occurring peptides with high affinity and selectivity for delta opioid binding sites.


PMID 2544892

Abstract

Deltorphins are endogenous linear heptapeptides, isolated from skin extracts of frogs belonging to the genus Phyllomedusa, that have a higher affinity and selectivity for delta opioid binding sites than any other natural compound known. Two deltorphins with the sequence Tyr-Ala-Phe-Asp(or Glu)-Val-Val-Gly-NH2 have been isolated from skin extracts of Phyllomedusa bicolor. The alanine in position 2 is in the D configuration. These peptides, [D-Ala2]deltorphins I and II, show an even higher affinity for delta receptors than the previously characterized deltorphin, which contains D-methionine as the second amino acid. These peptides show some similarity to another constituent of Phyllomedusa skin, dermorphin, which is highly selective for mu-opioid receptors. These peptides all have the N-terminal sequence Tyr-D-Xaa-Phe, where D-Xaa is either D-alanine or D-methionine. While this structure seems to be capable of activating both mu and delta opioid receptors, differences in the C-terminal regions of these peptides are probably responsible for the observed high receptor selectivity of dermorphin and deltorphin.