According to Newman et al., in all D3 receptor antagonists a salt bridge between the protonated amine in the primary pharmcophore and Asp 110 is observed. Previous antagonists candidates having a stepholidine ring as a primary pharmacophore have been synthetized in our lab. The protonated nitrogen of the pharmacophore makes the same interaction with Asp 110 observed in Newman et al.10 Some of the molecules used in this study like 216F (figure 4 left) have the same feature. However, molecules like 217F don't do the same interaction (figure 4 right). In order to find out the reason why those molecules interact differently 216F and 217F were superimposed (figure 5). From the superimposition it looks that there is electronic repulsion between a cyano group in para of the aromatic ring and the carbonyl of Val 189. This repulsion would cause the molecule to rearrange in another way in order to fit in the receptor. This rearrangement would prevent the protonated amine of 217F to make the salt bridge with Asp 110 in the primary binding site (OBS). This phenomenon occurs in all molecules with a substitution in para.
Figure 4. left, SG-216F makes the salt bridge with Asp 110. Righ, SG-217F does not make the salt bridge interaction with Asp 110.
Figure 5. SG-216F in blue and SG-217F in pink. SG-217F cannot make the salt bridge interaction because of the clash between the cyano group and valine 189.