[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diverse strategies have been explored to mimic the surface displayed by an α-helical segment of a protein, with the goal of creating inhibitors of helix-mediated protein-protein interactions. Many recognition surfaces on proteins, however, are topologically more complex and less regular than a single α-helix. We describe efforts to develop peptidic foldamers that bind to the irregular receptor-recognition surface of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Our approach begins with a 19-residue α-peptide previously reported by Fairbrother et al. (Biochemistry 1998, 37, 17754) to bind to this surface on VEGF. Systematic evaluation of α→β replacements throughout this 19-mer sequence enabled us to identify homologues that contain up to ~30% β residues, retain significant affinity for VEGF, and display substantial resistance to proteolysis. These α/β-peptides can block VEGF-stimulated proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 05/2012; 134(18):7652-5. · 11.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptidic oligomers that contain both α- and β-amino acid residues, in regular patterns throughout the backbone, are emerging as structural mimics of α-helix-forming conventional peptides (composed exclusively of α-amino acid residues). Here we describe a comprehensive evaluation of diverse α/β-peptide homologues of the Bim BH3 domain in terms of their ability to bind to the BH3-recognition sites on two partner proteins, Bcl-x(L) and Mcl-1. These proteins are members of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family, and both bind tightly to the Bim BH3 domain itself. All α/β-peptide homologues retain the side-chain sequence of the Bim BH3 domain, but each homologue contains periodic α-residue → β(3)-residue substitutions. Previous work has shown that the ααβαααβ pattern, which aligns the β(3)-residues in a 'stripe' along one side of the helix, can support functional α-helix mimicry, and the results reported here strengthen this conclusion. The present study provides the first evaluation of functional mimicry by ααβ and αααβ patterns, which cause the β(3)-residues to spiral around the helix periphery. We find that the αααβ pattern can support effective mimicry of the Bim BH3 domain, as manifested by the crystal structure of an α/β-peptide bound to Bcl-x(L), affinity for a variety of Bcl-2 family proteins, and induction of apoptotic signaling in mouse embryonic fibroblast extracts. The best αααβ homologue shows substantial protection from proteolytic degradation relative to the Bim BH3 α-peptide.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 01/2012; 134(1):315-23. · 11.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hox transcription factors bind highly related DNA sequences in vitro, yet they regulate different genes and play distinct roles in anterior-posterior patterning in animals. Slattery et al. report that a common cofactor, Exd, accentuates latent sequence specificities of all eight Hox proteins and directs binding to relevant sites across the genome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors (TFs) are responsible for decoding and expressing the information stored in the genome, which dictates cellular function. Creating artificial transcription factors (ATFs) that mimic endogenous TFs is a major goal at the interface of biology, chemistry, and molecular medicine. Such molecular tools will be essential for deciphering and manipulating transcriptional networks that lead to particular cellular states. In this minireview, the framework for the design of functional ATFs is presented and current challenges in the successful implementation of ATFs are discussed.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 10/2010; 1799(10-12):768-74. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nature constructs intricate complexes containing numerous binding partners in order to direct a variety of cellular processes. Researchers have taken a cue from these events to develop synthetic molecules that can nucleate natural and unnatural interactions for a diverse set of applications. These molecules can be designed to drive protein dimerization or to modulate the interactions between proteins, lipids, DNA, or RNA and thereby alter cellular pathways. A variety of components within the cellular machinery can be recruited with or replaced by synthetic compounds. Directing the formation of multicomponent complexes with new synthetic molecules can allow unprecedented control over the cellular machinery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Get into the groove: The first high-resolution structure of a foldamer bound to a protein target is described (see picture; foldamer in sticks). The foldamer consists of alpha- and beta-amino acid residues and is bound to the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-x(L). The overall binding mode and key interactions observed in the foldamer/Bcl-x(L) complex mimic those seen in complexes of Bcl-x(L) with natural alpha-peptide ligands. Additional contacts in the foldamer/Bcl-x(L) complex involving beta-amino acid residues appear to contribute to binding affinity.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 03/2009; 48(24):4318-22. · 11.34 Impact Factor