JOURNAL ARTICLE

Targeting diverse protein-protein interaction interfaces with α/β-peptides derived from the Z-domain scaffold

James W Checco, Dale F Kreitler, Nicole C Thomas, David G Belair, Nicholas J Rettko, William L Murphy, Katrina T Forest, Samuel H Gellman
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 April 14, 112 (15): 4552-7
25825775
Peptide-based agents derived from well-defined scaffolds offer an alternative to antibodies for selective and high-affinity recognition of large and topologically complex protein surfaces. Here, we describe a strategy for designing oligomers containing both α- and β-amino acid residues ("α/β-peptides") that mimic several peptides derived from the three-helix bundle "Z-domain" scaffold. We show that α/β-peptides derived from a Z-domain peptide targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) can structurally and functionally mimic the binding surface of the parent peptide while exhibiting significantly decreased susceptibility to proteolysis. The tightest VEGF-binding α/β-peptide inhibits the VEGF165-induced proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We demonstrate the versatility of this strategy by showing how principles underlying VEGF signaling inhibitors can be rapidly extended to produce Z-domain-mimetic α/β-peptides that bind to two other protein partners, IgG and tumor necrosis factor-α. Because well-established selection techniques can identify high-affinity Z-domain derivatives from large DNA-encoded libraries, our findings should enable the design of biostable α/β-peptides that bind tightly and specifically to diverse targets of biomedical interest. Such reagents would be useful for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

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