Opioid peptide

Opioid peptide

Vertebrate endogenous opioids neuropeptide
Symbol Opiods_neuropep
Pfam PF01160
InterPro IPR006024
Structural correlation between met-enkephalin, an opioid peptide, (left) and morphine, an opiate drug, (right)

Opioid peptides are short sequences of amino acids that bind to opioid receptors in the brain; opiates and opioids mimic the effect of these peptides. Opioid peptides may be produced by the body itself, for example endorphins. The effects of these peptides vary, but they all resemble those of opiates. Brain opioid peptide systems are known to play an important role in motivation, emotion, attachment behaviour, the response to stress and pain, and the control of food intake.

Opioid-like peptides may also be absorbed from partially digested food (casomorphins, exorphins, and rubiscolins). The opioid food peptides have lengths of typically 4-8 amino acids. The body's own opioids are generally much longer.

Opioid peptides are released by post-translational proteolytic cleavage of precursor proteins. The precursors consist of the following components: a signal sequence that precedes a conserved region of about 50 residues; a variable-length region; and the sequence of the neuropeptides themselves. Sequence analysis reveals that the conserved N-terminal region of the precursors contains 6 cysteines, which are probably involved in disulfide bond formation. It is speculated that this region might be important for neuropeptide processing.[1]


  • Opioid peptides produced by the body 1
  • Opioid food peptides 2
  • Amphibian opioid peptides 3
  • Synthetic opioid peptides 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Opioid peptides produced by the body

The human genome contains several homologous genes that are known to code for endogenous opioid peptides.

Opioid food peptides

Amphibian opioid peptides

Synthetic opioid peptides


  1. ^ a b Mollereau C, Simons MJ, Soularue P, Liners F, Vassart G, Meunier JC, Parmentier M (August 1996). "Structure, tissue distribution, and chromosomal localization of the prepronociceptin gene". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 93 (16): 8666–70.  
  2. ^ Chang AC, Cochet M, Cohen SN (August 1980). "Structural organization of human genomic DNA encoding the pro-opiomelanocortin peptide". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77 (8): 4890–4.  
  3. ^ Ling N, Burgus R, Guillemin R (November 1976). "Isolation, primary structure, and synthesis of alpha-endorphin and gamma-endorphin, two peptides of hypothalamic-hypophysial origin with morphinomimetic activity". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 73 (11): 3942–6.  
  4. ^ Noda M, Teranishi Y, Takahashi H, Toyosato M, Notake M, Nakanishi S, Numa S (June 1982). "Isolation and structural organization of the human preproenkephalin gene."  
  5. ^ Horikawa S, Takai T, Toyosato M, Takahashi H, Noda M, Kakidani H, et al. (Dec 1983). "Isolation and structural organization of the human preproenkephalin B gene". Nature 306 (5943): 611–4.  

External links

This article incorporates text from the public domain Pfam and InterPro IPR006024