The mechanism of action of steroid antagonists: Insights from crystallographic studies

W. L. Duax*, J. F. Griffin, C. M. Weeks, Z. Wawrzak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Examination of the structures of compounds having high affinity for estrogen, progestin, mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors strongly suggests that receptor binding is primarily the result of a tight association between the receptor and the steroidal A-ring. High affinity binding to the estrogen receptor appears to be dependent upon the presence of a phenolic ring in the substrate. An inverted 1β,2α conformation of the 4-ene-3-one A-ring appears to be most conducive to high affinity binding to the progesterone receptor. Binding to the mineralocorticoid receptor appears to be correlated to a complementary fit between amino acids of the receptor site and a flat 4-en-3-one A-ring similar to that imposed upon aldosterone by the 11,18-epoxide formation. The glucocorticoid receptor appears to prefer a 4-en-3-one A-ring that is bowed toward the α-face as is the case in structures having a 9α-fluoro substituent or additional unsaturation at C(1)-C(2). The binding of androgens to their receptor differs in appearing to have an essential dependence upon functional groups at the A- and D-ring end of the steroid. With the exception of the androgens, the data suggest that specific interactions between the steroid B-, C- and D-rings and the receptor play at best a minor role in receptor binding but are the most important factor in determining agonist versus antagonist behavior subsequent to binding. Antagonists that compete for a steroid receptor site may be expected to have the A-ring composition and conformation necessary for receptor binding but lack the 11β-OH and the D-ring conformational features and functional groups that induce or stabilize subsequent receptor functions. Antagonists might also be compounds with A-ring conformations appropriate for binding but other structural features that interfere with subsequent receptor functions essential to activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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