This study describes a new structural class of compounds which interact at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-associated glycine recognition site. These E-gamma-substituted vinylglycine derivatives were active in displacing [3H]glycine binding from the NMDA receptor-associated recognition site in rat forebrain synaptic plasma membranes, with Ki values in the range of 0.24-8.7 microM. Functional analyses of these compounds indicate that they positively modulate basal [3H](+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H- [a,d]cyclohepaten-5,10-imine ([3H]MK-801) binding, consistent with their having agonist characteristics. Little stereospecificity is observed with the gamma-substituted methyl and propyl derivatives while the L-isomer of the hexyl analog is significantly more potent than the D-isomer. The D- and L-hydroxyethyl gamma-substituted vinylglycines were the most potent inhibitors of [3H]glycine binding with Ki values of 0.75 +/- 0.06 microM and 0.24 +/- 0.02 microM, respectively. The 3,4-double bond was necessary for activity in that the saturated hexyl derivative (2-aminodecanoate) was inactive. Based on the results reported herein, the hypothesis that there is a distinct size restriction for functional agonists which interact with the glycine recognition site, should be altered to include these larger extensions of vinylglycine.
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