Abstract Objectives Purine nucleotides play a central role in signal transduction events initiated at the cell membrane. The NO–cGMP–cGK pathway, in particular, mediates events involving NOS and some classes of K+ ion channel. The aim of this study is to investigate relative molecular similarity within the ligands binding to NOS, KATP, BKCa channels and regulatory nucleotides. Methods Minimum energy conformers of the ligand structures were superimposed and fitted to l-arginine and the nucleotides of adenine and guanine using a computational program. Key findings Distinctive patterns were evident in the fitting of NOS isoform antagonists to l-arginine. KATP channel openers and antagonists superimposed on the glycosidic linkage and imidazole ring of the purine nucleotides, and guanidinium and ribose groups of GTP in the case of glibenclamide. The fits of BKCa channel openers and antagonists to cGMP were characterized by the linear dimensions of their structures; distances between terminal oxy groups in respect of dexamethasone and aldosterone. Conclusions The findings provide structural evidence for the functional interaction between K+ channel openers/antagonists and the regulatory nucleotides. Use of the purine nucleotide template systematizes the considerable heterogeneity evident within the structures of ligands operating on K+ ion channels.
- guanylyl cyclase
- nitric oxide synthetase
- potassium channels
- purine nucleotides
- structure–activity relationships