[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histo-aspartic protease (HAP) from Plasmodium falciparum is a promising target for the development of novel antimalarial drugs. The sequence of HAP is highly similar to those of pepsin-like aspartic proteases, but one of the two catalytic aspartates, Asp32, is replaced with histidine. Crystal structures of the truncated zymogen of HAP and of the complex of the mature enzyme with inhibitor KNI-10395 have been determined at 2.1 and 2.5 Å resolution, respectively. As in other proplasmepsins, the propeptide of the zymogen interacts with the C-terminal domain of the enzyme, forcing the N- and C-terminal domains apart, thereby separating His32 and Asp215 and preventing formation of the mature active site. In the inhibitor complex, the enzyme forms a tight domain-swapped dimer, not previously seen in any aspartic proteases. The inhibitor is found in an unprecedented conformation resembling the letter U, stabilized by two intramolecular hydrogen bonds. Surprisingly, the location and conformation of the inhibitor are similar to those of the fragment of helix 2 comprising residues 34p-38p in the prosegments of the zymogens of gastric aspartic proteases; a corresponding helix assumes a vastly different orientation in proplasmepsins. Each inhibitor molecule is in contact with two molecules of HAP, interacting with the carboxylate group of the catalytic Asp215 of one HAP protomer through a water molecule, while also making a direct hydrogen bond to Glu278A' of the other protomer. A comparison of the shifts in the positions of the catalytic residues in the inhibitor complex presented here with those published previously gives further hints regarding the enzymatic mechanism of HAP.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously, we reported potent pentapeptidic BACE1 inhibitors with the hydroxymethylcarbonyl isostere as a substrate transition-state mimic. To improve the in vitro potency, we further reported pentapeptidic inhibitors with carboxylic acid bioisosteres at the P(4) and P1' positions. In the current study, we screened new P1' position 1-phenylcycloalkylamine analogs to find non-acidic inhibitors that possess double-digit nanomolar range IC(50) values. An extensive structure-activity relationship study was performed with various amine derivatives at the P1' position. The most potent inhibitor of this pentapeptide series, KMI-1830, possessing 1-phenylcyclopentylamine at the P1' position had an IC(50) value of 11.6 nM against BACE1 in vitro enzymatic assay.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmepsin I (PMI) is one of the four vacuolar pepsin-like proteases responsible for hemoglobin degradation by the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and the only one with no crystal structure reported to date. Due to substantial functional redundancy of these enzymes, lack of inhibition of even a single plasmepsin can defeat efforts in creating effective antiparasitic agents. We have now solved crystal structures of the recombinant PMI as apoenzyme and in complex with the potent peptidic inhibitor, KNI-10006, at the resolution of 2.4 and 3.1Å, respectively. The apoenzyme crystallized in the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1) with two molecules in the asymmetric unit and the structure has been refined to the final R-factor of 20.7%. The KNI-10006 bound enzyme crystallized in the tetragonal space group P4(3) with four molecules in the asymmetric unit and the structure has been refined to the final R-factor of 21.1%. In the PMI-KNI-10006 complex, the inhibitors were bound identically to all four enzyme molecules, with the opposite directionality of the main chain of KNI-10006 relative to the direction of the enzyme substrates. Such a mode of binding of inhibitors containing an allophenylnorstatine-dimethylthioproline insert in the P1-P1' positions, previously reported in a complex with PMIV, demonstrates the importance of satisfying the requirements for the proper positioning of the functional groups in the mechanism-based inhibitors towards the catalytic machinery of aspartic proteases, as opposed to binding driven solely by the specificity of the individual enzymes. A comparison of the structure of the PMI-KNI-10006 complex with the structures of other vacuolar plasmepsins identified the important differences between them and may help in the design of specific inhibitors targeting the individual enzymes.
Journal of Structural Biology 07/2011; 175(1):73-84. · 3.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recently identified E22Δ-type amyloid β peptide (Aβ) mutants are reported to favor oligomerization over fibrillization and to exhibit more-potent synaptotoxicity than does wild-type (WT) Aβ. Aβ(E22Δ) mutants can thus be expected to serve as tools for clarifying the impact of Aβ oligomers in Alzheimer's disease (or Alzheimer's-type dementia). However, the biochemical and biophysical properties of Aβ(E22Δ) have not been conclusively determined. Here, we evaluated the self-assembly pathways of Aβ(E22Δ) mutants generated from water-soluble, non-aggregative O-acyl isopeptide precursors. Circular dichroism spectroscopy, Western blot analysis, and thioflavin-T fluorescence intensity and cellular toxicity assays suggest that the self-assembly pathways of Aβ(E22Δ) differed from those of Aβ(WT). Aβ1-40(E22Δ) underwent a rapid random coil→β-sheet conformational change in its monomeric or low-molecular-weight oligomeric states, whereas Aβ1-40(WT) self-assembled gradually without losing its propensity to form random coil structures. The Aβ1-42(E22Δ) monomer formed β-sheet-rich oligomers more rapidly than did Aβ1-42(WT). Additionally, the Aβ1-42(E22Δ) oligomers appear to differ from Aβ1-42(WT) oligomers in size, shape, or both. These results should provide new insights into the functions of Aβ(E22Δ) mutants.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A concise method was developed for quantifying native disulfide-bond formation in proteins using isotopically labeled internal standards, which were easily prepared with proteolytic ¹⁸O-labeling. As the method has much higher throughput to estimate the amounts of fragments possessing native disulfide arrangements by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) than the conventional high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses, it allows many different experimental conditions to be assessed in a short time. The method was applied to refolding experiments of a recombinant neuregulin 1-β1 EGF-like motif (NRG1-β1), and the optimum conditions for preparing native NRG1-β1 were obtained by quantitative comparisons. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) was most effective at the reduced/oxidized glutathione ratio of 2:1 for refolding the denatured sample NRG1-β1 with the native disulfide bonds.
Protein Science 06/2011; 20(6):1090-6. · 2.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The O-acyl isopeptide (1) of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), which contains an ester moiety at both Ala8-Thr9 and Ser19-Ser20, was prepared by sequential segment condensation based on the O-acyl isopeptide method. Isopeptide 1 possessed nonaggregative properties, retaining its random coil structure under the acidic conditions; this suggests that the insertion of the O-acyl isopeptide structures in IAPP suppressed aggregation of the molecule. As a result of the rapid O-to-N acyl shift of 1 under neutral pH, in situ-formed IAPP adopted a random-coil structure at the start of the experiment, and then underwent conformational change to α-helix/β-sheet mixed structures as well as aggregation. The click peptide strategy with the nonaggregative precursor molecule 1 could be a useful experimental tool to identify the functions of IAPP, by overcoming the handling difficulties that arise from IAPP's intense and uncontrollable self-assembling nature.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HTLV-I is a debilitating and/or lethal retrovirus that causes HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, adult T-cell leukemia and several inflammatory diseases. HTLV-I protease is an aspartic retropepsin involved in HTLV-I replication and its inhibition could treatHTLV-I infection. A recombinant L40I mutant HTLV-I protease was designed and obtained from Escherichia coli, self-processingand purification by ion-exchange chromatography. The protease was refolded by a one-step dialysis and recovered activity. The cleavage efficiency of the [Ile⁴⁰]HTLV-I protease was at least 300 times higher for a fluorescent substratethan that of our previously reported recombinant His-tagged non-mutated HTLV-I protease. In addition, we designed and synthesized a substrate containing a highly fluorescent Mca moiety in the fragment before the scissile bond, and a chromogenic p-nitrophenylalanine moiety after the scissile bond that greatly amplified spectrometry detection and improved the HTLV-I protease inhibition potency assay. The HTLV-I protease inhibition assay with the [Ile⁴⁰]HTLV-I protease and fluorogenic substrate requires distinctively less protease, substrate, inhibitor and assay time than our previous methods. This means our new assay is more cost-effective and more time-efficient while being reproducible and less labor-intensive.
Journal of Peptide Science 05/2011; 17(8):569-75. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human T cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) is clinically associated with adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma, HTLV-I associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, and a number of other chronic inflammatory diseases. To stop the replication of the virus, we developed highly potent tetrapeptidic HTLV-I protease inhibitors. In a recent X-ray crystallography study, several of our inhibitors could not form co-crystal complexes with the protease due to their high hydrophobicity. In the current study, we designed, synthesized and evaluated the HTLV-I protease inhibition potency of compounds with hydrophilic end-capping moieties with the aim of improving pharmaceutic and pharmacokinetic properties.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The O-acyl isopeptide of Aβ1-42 (1), possessing an ester bond at the Gly(25)-Ser(26) sequence, is a water-soluble and non-aggregative precursor molecule and is capable of production of monomer Aβ1-42. The SDS-PAGE result showed that the Aβ1-42, produced from 1, adopted monomeric state at first and then self-assembled to oligomer. The oligomeric state was stabilized by nordihydroguaiaretic acid. The Thioflavin-T (ThT) fluorescence intensity derived from Aβ1-42 (generated from 1) was suppressed by various aggregation inhibitors. Finally, 1 could generate Aβ1-42 via the O-to-N acyl migration under cellular medium conditions and the produced Aβ1-42 exhibited cytotoxicity against PC12 cells. These results suggest that the click peptide system, which enables us to predominantly produce monomer Aβ1-42 under physiological conditions, would be adoptable to various biochemical and biophysical experiments including cellular system to investigate the functions of Aβ1-42.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to achieve an efficient synthesis of highly hydrophobic proteins by the native chemical ligation (NCL) reaction, we examined to incorporate the O-acyl isopeptide method, which is known to improve the solubility of the segment, to the NCL reaction: a peptide thioester having O-acyl isopeptide structures is prepared by the Boc mode solid-phase method using an azido group as a protecting group for the isopeptide site, and then ligated with C-terminal segment with an in situ reduction of the azido group followed by an O- to N-acyl shift. This method was successfully applied to the synthesis of the sphingolipid activator protein, saposin C.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new bioactive photoaffinity probe KPU-252-B1 (4) possessing a biotin tag on the oxazole ring of a potent plinabulin derivative KPU-244 (2) was synthesized via the Cu(I)-catalyzed Huisgen's cycloaddition reaction to understand the precise binding mode of the diketopiperazine-based anti-microtubule agent plinabulin on tubulin. Probe 4 showed significant binding affinity toward tubulin and cytotoxicity against an HT-29 cells. A photoaffinity labeling study suggested that probe 4 specifically recognizes tubulin at a binding site that binds plinabulin or colchicine, most likely near or at the colchicine binding site, which is located at the interfacial region formed by α-and β-tubulin association. The results also demonstrated that probe 4 may serve as a useful plinabulin chemical probe to investigate the molecular mechanism by which anti-microtubule diketopiperazine derivatives operate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human T cell lymphotropic/leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-I) causes adult T cell lymphoma/leukemia. The virus is also responsible for chronic progressive myelopathy and several inflammatory diseases. To stop the manufacturing of new viral components, in our previous reports, we derived small tetrapeptidic HTLV-I protease inhibitors with an important amide-capping moiety at the P(3) residue. In the current study, we removed the P(3)-cap moiety and, with great difficulty, optimized the P(3) residue for HTLV-I protease inhibition potency. We discovered a very potent and small tetrapeptidic HTLV-I protease inhibitor (KNI-10774a, IC(50)=13 nM).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have studied the "S-acyl isopeptide method" for the synthesis of peptides containing difficult sequences. The S-acyl isopeptide, which contains a beta-thioester instead of the native N-acyl bond at a Cys residue, can be converted into the target peptide via an S-to-N intramolecular acyl migration reaction. However, the synthesis of the S-acyl isopeptide structure by Fmoc-based SPPS is hampered by repetitive base treatments; decomposition of the thioester and the epimerization of the thioesterified residue are commonly observed. Here, we adopted allyloxycarbonyl (Aloc) protective group to avoid the problem. Catalytic amount of Pd in the presence of scavengers such as PhSiH3 and dimedone selectively removed the Aloc group with neither decomposition of the thioester structure nor epimerization at the thioesterified residue. A model pentapeptide and amylin(1-12) with difficult sequences were efficiently synthesized by the improved S-acyl isopeptides method. Finally, the isolated S-acyl isopeptides were quantitatively converted into the desired peptides via the S-to-N intramolecular acyl migration reaction. The S-acyl isopeptide method will be a usefuI method to prepare the difficult sequence-containing peptides with Cys residue.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptides simultaneously produced during maturation and degradation of peptidergic hormones and functional proteins have recently become a great interest because they display unpredictably different biological roles than the parent proteins. Namely, we discovered two novel functional cryptic peptides, mitocryptide-1 (MCT-1) and mitocryptide-2 (MCT-2), hidden in mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase and cytochrome b, that efficiently induced neutrophilic migration and activation at nanomolar concentrations. We named these functional "cryptic" peptides hidden in protein structures as "cryptides." In this study, we investigated the receptor molecules and cellular signaling mechanisms for neutrophil-activating N-formylated cryptide MCT-2. In order to identify the receptor molecules, we established HEK-293 cells stably expressing either formyl-peptide receptor (FPR) or its homologue FPR-like 1 (FPRL1), because neutrophilic cells express these receptor molecules which recognize N-formylated peptides. We observed that MCT-2 directly bound to FPRL1 and promoted an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)), and neither interacted with nor activated FPR, demonstrating that MCT-2 is a specific agonist for FPRL1. Moreover, MCT-2 induced not only [Ca(2+)](i) increase and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2, but also β-hexosaminidase release in neutrophilic/granulocytic cells differentiated from HL-60 cells. Such signaling events were diminished by pretreatment with pertussis toxin, indicating that MCT-2-promoted neutrophilic function is a consequence of G(i)- or G(o)-type G protein-dependent intracellular signaling events via FPRL1 activation. These findings suggest that MCT-2, a cryptide derived from mitochondrial cytochrome b, is a specific endogenous agonist for FPRL1 which is proposed to play key roles in inflammatory responses but whose physiological agonists are equivocal.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2011; 404(1):482-7. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus associated with several serious diseases, such as adult T-cell leukemia and tropical spastic paraparesis/myelopathy. For a number of years, the protease (PR) encoded by HTLV-1 has been a target for designing antiviral drugs, but that effort was hampered by limited available structural information. We report a high-resolution crystal structure of HTLV-1 PR complexed with a statine-containing inhibitor, a significant improvement over the previously available moderate-resolution structure. We also report crystal structures of the complexes of HTLV-1 PR with five different inhibitors that are more compact and more potent. A detailed study of structure-activity relationships was performed to interpret in detail the influence of the polar and hydrophobic interactions between the inhibitors and the protease.
Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2010; 401(4):626-41. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We attached 2-aminoethylamino groups to allophenylnorstatine-containing plasmepsin (Plm) inhibitors and investigated SAR of the methyl or ethyl substitutions on the amino groups. Unexpectedly, compounds 22 (KNI-10743) and 25 (KNI-10742) exhibited extremely potent Plm II inhibitory activities (K(i)<0.1 nM). Moreover, among our peptidomimetic Plm inhibitors, we identified the compounds with the highest antimalarial activity using a SYBR Green I-based fluorescence assay.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A head-to-tail cyclization of a protected linear hexapeptide with a C-terminal O-acyl isopeptide proceeded to give a cyclic O-acyl isopeptide without epimerization. The cyclic O-acyl isopeptide possessed different secondary structures compared with the native cyclic peptide. The isopeptide was then efficiently converted to the desired cyclic peptide via an O-to-N acyl migration reaction using a silica gel-anchored base.
Journal of Peptide Science 08/2010; 16(8):437-42. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutron protein crystallography is advantageous in determining protonation states of target proteins to provide a more precise understanding of the enzymatic mechanism and accurate structure-based drug design. However, a major obstacle is the growth of large protein crystals needed to compensate for the weak flux of the available neutron beam. Here, we report crystal growth of human immunodeficiency virus 1 protease (HIV PR) in a complex with its inhibitor KNI-272 by six different methods. Comparative analysis indicates that top-seeded solution growth (TSSG) and TSSG combined with the floating and stirring technique (TSSG-FAST) are efficient strategies for rapidly obtaining large single crystals and effectively preventing polycrystallization of the seed crystal. Neutron diffraction analysis confirmed that the crystal obtained by TSSG is a high-quality single crystal. Furthermore, crystal shape was observed to be influenced by solution flow, suggesting that the degree of supersaturation significantly affects the crystal growth direction of HIV PR complex. This finding implies that the shape of the HIV PR complex crystal might be controlled by the solution flow rate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is known to be involved in the production of amyloid beta-peptide in Alzheimer's disease and is a major target for current drug design. We previously reported substrate-based peptidomimetics, KMI-compounds as potent BACE1 inhibitors. In this study, we designed and synthesized tetrapeptides as low molecular-sized inhibitors. These exhibited high potency against recombinant BACE1, with the highest IC(50) value of 34.6 nM from KMI-927.
Journal of Peptide Science 06/2010; 16(6):257-62. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synthetic peptides reproducing the helix-loop-helix (HLH) domains of the Id proteins fold into highly stable helix bundles upon self-association. Recently, we have shown that the replacement of the dipeptide Val-Ser at the loop-helix-2 junction with the corresponding O-acyl iso-dipeptide leads to a completely unfolded state that only refolds after intramolecular O --> N acyl migration. Herein, we report on an Id HLH analog based on the substitution of the Pro-Ser motif at the helix-1-loop junction with the corresponding O-acyl iso-dipeptide. This analog has been successfully synthesized by solid-phase Fmoc chemistry upon suppression of DKP formation. No secondary structure could be detected for the O-acyl iso-peptide before its conversion into the native form by O --> N acyl shift. These results show that the loop-helix junctions are determinant for the folded/unfolded state of the Id HLH domain. Further, despite the high risk of DKP formation, peptides containing O-acyl iso-Pro-Ser/Thr units are synthetically accessible by Fmoc chemistry.
Journal of Peptide Science 06/2010; 16(6):303-8. · 2.07 Impact Factor