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The growth hormone secretagogue receptor type 1a (GHS-R1a) is a class A rhodopsin-like G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) that is expressed in a variety of human tissues and is differentially expressed in benign and malignant prostate cancer. Previously, the peptidomimetic [1-Nal4 ,Lys5 (4-fluorobenzoyl)]G-7039 was designed as a molecular imaging tool for positron emission tomography (PET). However, this candidate was a poor binder (IC50 =69 nm), required a lengthy four-step radiosynthesis, and had a cLogP above 8. To address these challenges, we now report on changes targeted at the 4th position of G-7039. A 2-fluoropropionic acid (2-FPA) group was added on to Lys5 to determine the potential binding affinity of the [18 F]-2-FP radiolabeled analogue, which could be prepared by simplified radiochemistry. Lead candidate [Tyr4 ,Lys5 (2-fluoropropionyl)]G-7039 exhibited an IC50 of 0.28 nm and low picomolar activity toward GHS-R1a. Molecular docking revealed a molecular basis for this picomolar affinity.

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ghrelin, growth hormone secretagogue receptor, lipophilicity, partial agonists, peptidomimetics