Development of Peptide Binders: Applied to Human CRP, Carbonic Anhydrase (II, IX) and Lysine Demethylase 1

  • Date:
  • Location: B/C2:305, Husargatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Yang, Jie
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Institutionen för kemi - BMC
  • Contact person: Yang, Jie
  • Disputation

In this thesis, a polypeptide binder concept is illustrated. By conjugation to a set of sixteen polypeptides, a small binding molecule can evolve into a polypeptide binder with increased affinity and selectivity. The concept was applied to 2-oxo-1,2-dihydroquinoline-8-carboxylic acid (DQ) and acetazolamide (AZM) for development of high affinity binders targeting human C-reactive protein (CRP) and human carbonic anhydrase (HCA) II and IX respectively. In addition, peptididic macrocycles were developed as inhibitors of lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1).

CRP is a well-known biomarker of inflammation in humans and binders recognizing it are therefore of large interest as medical diagnostics. Until now, phosphocholine (PCh) and derivatives are the only known small molecule binders for CRP, but they have low μM affinity and bind CRP in a Ca2+ dependent manner. The small molecule DQ was designed as a CRP binder that is structurally unrelated to PCh. Its polypeptide conjugate, 4-C25l22-DQ, was demonstrated as a strong, Ca2+ independent binder for CRP, and had an affinity approximately three orders of magnitude higher than DQ itself.

HCA IX is a protein that is interesting for diagnosis of cancer. AZM is a small molecule inhibitor of HCAs with a dissociation constant of 38 nM for HCA II and 3 nM for HCA IX. Interestingly, polypeptide conjugate 4-C10L17-AZM displayed stronger binding to both HCA II (KD 4 nM) and HCA IX (KD 90 pM). This result provided evidence that the binder concept can be applied also for small molecules which already have high affinity for their protein receptors.

LSD1 is an enzyme that regulates the methylation of Lys 4 of histone 3 via a PPI-like interaction and which is of therapeutic interest in certain cancers. Based on the structures of two peptidic ligands bound to LSD1, we sequentially prepared truncated, mono-substituted and macroyclic peptides in order to develop reversible inhibitors of LSD1. Some stapled cyclic peptides bound to LSD1 with 10-fold higher affinity than the corresponding linear parent peptide. Changing the staple into a lactam further improved the binding potency and the best lactams inhibited the enzymatic activity of LSD1 at low μM Ki values.