Philip Portoghese, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry


Research Interests:

My research is concerned with the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of ligands for their use as tools and potential analgesic agents at opioid receptors. We are particularly interested in mechanisms for the association of such ligands with opioid receptors. Of particular interest is the role of heteromerization of GPCRs in signaling.

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Akgün E, Lunzer MM, Tian D, Ansonoff M, Pintar J, Bruce D, Hawkinson JE, Wilcox GL, Portoghese PS. FBNTI, a DOR-aelective antagonist that allosterically activates MOR within a MOR-DOR heteromer. Biochemistry. 2020 Sep 20. doi: 10.1021.
  • Cataldo G, Lunzer MM, Olson JK, Akgün E, Belcher JD, Vercellotti GM, Portoghese PS, Simone DA. The bivalent ligand MCC22 potently attenuates nociception in a murine model of sickle cell disease. Pain. 2018 Mar 22;. PMID: 29578946 
  • Peterson CD, Kitto KF, Akgün E, Lunzer MM, Riedl MS, Vulchanova L, Wilcox GL, Portoghese PS, Fairbanks CA. Bivalent ligand that activates mu opioid receptor and antagonizes mGluR5 receptor reduces neuropathic pain in mice. Pain. 2017;158(12):2431-2441.
  • Portoghese PS, Akgün E, Lunzer MM. Heteromer induction: An approach to unique pharmacology? ACS Chem Neurosci. 2017;8(3):426-428.
  • Goudie-DeAngelis EM, Abdelhamid RE, Nunez MG, Kissel CL, Kovács KJ, Portoghese PS, Larson AA. Modulation of musculoskeletal hyperalgesia by brown adipose tissue activity in mice. Pain. 2016;157(11):2561-2570.
  • Akgün E, Javed MI, Lunzer MM, Powers MD, Sham YY, Watanabe Y, Portoghese PS. Inhibition of Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain by Targeting a Mu Opioid Receptor/Chemokine Receptor5 Heteromer (MOR-CCR5). J Med Chem. 2015;58(21):8647-57.
  • Smeester BA, Lunzer MM, Akgün E, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Targeting putative mu opioid/metabotropic glutamate receptor-5 heteromers produces potent antinociception in a chronic murine bone cancer model. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014;743:48-52.
  • Le Naour M, Lunzer MM, Powers MD, Kalyuzhny AE, Benneyworth MA, Thomas MJ, Portoghese PS. Putative kappa opioid heteromers as targets for developing analgesics free of adverse effects. J Med Chem. 2014;57(15):6383-92.
  • Akgün E, Javed MI, Lunzer MM, Smeester BA, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Ligands that interact with putative MOR-mGluR5 heteromer in mice with inflammatory pain produce potent antinociception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(28):11595-11599.
Philip Portoghese