Interaction of calcium channel antagonists with calcium: structural studies on verapamil and its Ca2+ complex
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The conformation of the calcium channel antagonist verapamil has been determined in acetonitrile, in the absence and presence of Ca2+, using two-dimensional 1H-NMR and molecular modeling techniques. Interproton connectivities in the drug molecule were identified from the observed NOESY cross peaks and interproton distances were estimated from the magnitudes of the volume integrals of the cross peaks. The molecular modeling program utilized the Monte Carlo simulation to generate a random ensemble of conformers complying with the NOESY-derived distance constraints. The energies of these conformers were subsequently computed. The minimum-energy structure of the free drug obtained in this manner exhibited some significant differences from the structure of verapamil determined by X-ray crystallography. In particular, the torsional angles in the middle region of the molecule containing the aliphatic "backbone" were such that the two aromatic rings at either end of the drug molecules were moved farther apart from each other in solution than in the crystal structure. The nearly perpendicular orientation of the aromatic rings seen in the crystal was, however, maintained in the solution structure as well. The addition of Ca2+ to a solution of verapamil in acetonitrile caused marked changes in the difference absorbance of the drug in the 200-300-nm region and in many of its 1H-NMR resonances. The changes were most significant up to a mole ratio of about 0.5 Ca2+:drug. Analysis of the binding data at 25 degrees C showed the presence of both 2:1 and 1:1 drug:Ca2+ complexes in equilibrium, the former "sandwich" complex being dominant at the lower cation concentrations with an estimated dissociation constant of about 300 microM. All of the NOESY cross peaks of the free drug remained on addition of 0.5 mol ratio of Ca2+ to verapamil in deuterated acetonitrile and only two new connectivities were observed. Using the interproton distances calculated from these NOESY data, molecular modeling of the 2:1 drug:Ca2+ complex was carried out to yield the minimum-energy conformer. In this conformer, Ca2+ was coordinated to two methoxy oxygens from each of the two drug molecules. The implications of the verapamil-Ca2+ interaction are discussed in terms of available experimental data on the binding of verapamil to the dihydropyridine-sensitive channel and in terms of a hypothesis on the formation of a drug-Ca(2+)-receptor complex in the lipid bilayer environment.
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