Molecular structural basis of ligand selectivity for 5-HT2 versus 5-HT1C cortical receptors

  • Pamela A. Pierce
  • Joanne Y. Kim
  • Stephen J. Peroutka


A molecular structural criterion of ligand selectivity for the 5-HT2 versus 5-HT1C receptor was hypothesized on the basis of radioligand binding data. Despite the large number of compounds which have been tested at both receptors, analysis of published data led to the identification of only five agents which are greater than 10-fold selective for the 5-HT2 versus the 5-HT1C receptor. Comparison of the two-dimensional structures revealed that, although these five compounds represent three distinct structural classes, they share a common structural feature located in the region hypothesized to be involved in receptor binding: a carbonyl or carboxyl oxygen interposed spatially between an aromatic ring and nitrogen atom. This structural feature was used to predict the relative selectivity of compounds that had not previously been analyzed at both the 5-HT2 and 5-HT1C receptors.

All six drugs tested which contain the identified reactive carbonyl or carboxyl group were found to be selective for the 5-HT2 versus the 5-HT1C receptor with selectivity ratios ranging from 26 to 380. By contrast, three agents which are structurally similar but do not contain the reactive carbonyl or carboxyl group displayed equally high affinity for both receptor binding sites. Since the physiological roles of the 5-HT2 and 5-HT1C receptor are markedly different, it would be of potential clinical and scientific value to utilize this molecular structural feature to further identify chemical compounds which would selectively interact with only one of the two receptors.

Key words

5-HT2 receptor 5-HT1C receptor 5-HT ligand selectivity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela A. Pierce
    • 1
  • Joanne Y. Kim
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Peroutka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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