[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A small library of monovalent and bivalent Smac mimics was synthesized based on 2 types of monomers, with general structure NMeAla-Xaa-Pro-BHA (Xaa=Cys or Lys). Position 2 of the compounds was utilized to dimerize both types of monomers employing various bis-reactive linkers, as well as to modify selected compounds with lipids. The resulting library was screened in vitro against metastatic human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231, and the two most active compounds selected for in vivo studies. The most active lipid-conjugated analogue M11, showed in vivo activity while administered both subcutaneously and orally. Collectively, our findings suggest that lipidation may be a viable approach in the development of new Smac-based therapeutic leads.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A small library of anticancer, cell-permeating, stapled peptides based on potent dual-specific antagonist of p53–MDM2/MDMX interactions, PMI-N8A, was synthesized, characterized and screened for anticancer activity against human colorectal cancer cell line, HCT-116. Employed synthetic modifications included: S-alkylation-based stapling, point mutations increasing hydrophobicity in key residues as well as improvement of cell-permeability by introduction of polycationic sequence(s) that were woven into the sequence of parental peptide. Selected analogue, ArB14Co, was also tested in vivo and exhibited potent anticancer bioactivity at the low dose (3.0 mg/kg). Collectively, our findings suggest that application of stapling in combination with rational design of polycationic short analogues may be a suitable approach in the development of physiologically active p53–MDM2/MDMX peptide inhibitors.
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10989-015-9487-3 · 0.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C-terminal transmembrane domain (TMD) of viral fusion proteins such as HIV gp41 and influenza hemagglutinin (HA) is traditionally viewed as a passive α-helical anchor of the protein to the virus envelope during its merger with the cell membrane. The conformation, dynamics, and lipid interaction of these fusion protein TMDs have so far eluded high-resolution structure characterization because of their highly hydrophobic nature. Using magic-angle-spinning solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we show that the TMD of the parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) fusion protein adopts lipid-dependent conformations and interactions with the membrane and water. In phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG) membranes, the TMD is predominantly α-helical, but in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) membranes, the TMD changes significantly to the β-strand conformation. Measured order parameters indicate that the strand segments are immobilized and thus oligomerized. (31)P NMR spectra and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) data show that this β-strand-rich conformation converts the PE membrane to a bicontinuous cubic phase, which is rich in negative Gaussian curvature that is characteristic of hemifusion intermediates and fusion pores. (1)H-(31)P 2D correlation spectra and (2)H spectra show that the PE membrane with or without the TMD is much less hydrated than PC and PG membranes, suggesting that the TMD works with the natural dehydration tendency of PE to facilitate membrane merger. These results suggest a new viral-fusion model in which the TMD actively promotes membrane topological changes during fusion using the β-strand as the fusogenic conformation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2015; 112(35). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1501430112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alveolar-capillary leakage of proteinaceous fluid impairs alveolar ventilation and surfactant function and decreases lung compliance in acute lung injury. We investigated the correlation between lung function and total protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of ventilated, lavaged surfactant-deficient rabbits treated with various clinical and synthetic lung surfactant preparations.
109 ventilated, young adult New Zealand White rabbits underwent lung lavage to induce surfactant-deficiency (PaO2 <100 torr in 100% O2), were treated with a clinical surfactant or a synthetic surfactant preparation with surfactant protein B (SP-B) and/or surfactant protein C (SP-C) analogs, and mechanically ventilated for 120 min. Total protein levels in postmortem BALF were correlated with arterial PO2 (PaO2) and dynamic lung compliance values at 120 min post-surfactant treatment.
Repeated lung lavages decreased mean PaO2 values from 540 to 58 torr and lung compliance from 0.64 to 0.33 mL/kg/cm H2O. Two hours after surfactant therapy and mechanical ventilation, mean PaO2 values had increased to 346 torr and lung compliance to 0.44 mL/kg/cm H2O. Eighty-six rabbits (79%) responded to surfactant therapy with an increase in PaO2 to values >200 torr. Fourteen non-responders received inactive surfactant preparations. BALF protein levels were inversely correlated with PaO2 and lung compliance (P < .001). Surfactant preparations containing both SP-B and SP-C proteins or peptide analogs outperformed single protein/peptide preparations.
Clinical and synthetic surfactant therapy reduces alveolar-capillary protein leakage in surfactant-deficient rabbits. Surfactant preparations with both SP-B and SP-C (analogs) were more efficient than preparations with SP-B or SP-C alone.
Experimental Lung Research 06/2015; 41(5):293-299. DOI:10.3109/01902148.2015.1024354 · 1.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Staphylococcus aureus two-component regulatory system, GraRS, is involved in resistance to killing by distinct host defense cationic antimicrobial
peptides (HD-CAPs). It is believed to regulate downstream target genes such as mprF and dltABCD to modify the S. aureus surface charge. However, the detailed mechanism(s) by which the histidine kinase, GraS, senses specific HD-CAPs is not well
defined. Here, we studied a well-characterized clinical methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain (MW2), its isogenic graS deletion mutant (ΔgraS strain), a nonameric extracellular loop mutant (ΔEL strain), and four residue-specific ΔEL mutants (D37A, P39A, P39S, and
D35G D37G D41G strains). The ΔgraS and ΔEL strains were unable to induce mprF and dltA expression and, in turn, demonstrated significantly increased susceptibilities to daptomycin, polymyxin B, and two prototypical
HD-CAPs (hNP-1 and RP-1). Further, P39A, P39S, and D35G-D37G-D41G ΔEL mutations correlated with moderate increases in HD-CAP
susceptibility. Reductions of mprF and dltA induction by PMB were also found in the ΔEL mutants, suggesting these residues are pivotal to appropriate activation of the
GraS sensor kinase. Importantly, a synthetic exogenous soluble EL mimic of GraS protected the parental MW2 strain against
hNP-1- and RP-1-mediated killing, suggesting a direct interaction of the EL with HD-CAPs in GraS activation. In vivo, the ΔgraS and ΔEL strains displayed dramatic reductions in achieved target tissue MRSA counts in an endocarditis model. Taken together,
our results provide new insights into potential roles of GraS in S. aureus sensing of HD-CAPs to induce adaptive survival responses to these molecules.
Infection and Immunity 10/2014; 82(12). DOI:10.1128/IAI.02480-14 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Surfactant protein C (SP-C; 35 residues) in lungs has a cationic N-terminal domain with two cysteines covalently linked to palmitoyls and a C-terminal region enriched in Val, Leu and Ile. Native SP-C shows high surface activity, due to SP-C inserting in the bilayer with its cationic N-terminus binding to the polar headgroup and its hydrophobic C-terminus embedded as a tilted, transmembrane α-helix. The palmitoylcysteines in SP-C act as ‘helical adjuvants’ to maintain activity by overriding the β-sheet propensities of the native sequences.
Objective. We studied SP-C peptides lacking palmitoyls, but containing glutamate and lysine at 4-residue intervals, to assess whether SP-C peptides with salt-bridges (“ion-locks”) promote surface activity by mimicking the α-helix and membrane topography of native SP-C.
Methods. SP-C mimics were synthesized that reproduce native sequences, but without palmitoyls (i.e., SP-Css or SP-Cff, with serines or phenylalanines replacing the two cysteines). Ion-lock SP-C molecules were prepared by incorporating single or double Glu−–Lys+ into the parent SP-C’s. The secondary structures of SP-C mimics were studied with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and PASTA, an algorithm that predicts β-sheet propensities based on the energies of the various β-sheet pairings. The membrane topography of SP-C mimics was investigated with orientated and hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange FTIR, and also Membrane Protein Explorer (MPEx) hydropathy analysis. In vitro surface activity was determined using adsorption surface pressure isotherms and captive bubble surfactometry, and in vivo surface activity from lung function measures in a rabbit model of surfactant deficiency.
Results. PASTA calculations predicted that the SP-Css and SP-Cff peptides should each form parallel β-sheet aggregates, with FTIR spectroscopy confirming high parallel β-sheet with ‘amyloid-like’ properties. The enhanced β-sheet properties for SP-Css and SP-Cff are likely responsible for their low surfactant activities in the in vitro and in vivo assays. Although standard 12C-FTIR study showed that the α-helicity of these SP-C sequences in lipids was uniformly increased with Glu−–Lys+ insertions, elevated surfactant activity was only selectively observed. Additional results from oriented and H/D exchange FTIR experiments indicated that the high surfactant activities depend on the SP-C ion-locks recapitulating both the α-helicity and the membrane topography of native SP-C. SP-Css ion-lock 1, an SP-Css with a salt-bridge for a Glu−–Lys+ ion-pair predicted from MPEx hydropathy calculations, demonstrated enhanced surfactant activity and a transmembrane helix simulating those of native SP-C.
Conclusion. Highly active SP-C mimics were developed that replace the palmitoyls of SP-C with intrapeptide salt-bridges and represent a new class of synthetic surfactants with therapeutic interest.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) is a widely accepted technique of non-invasive respiratory support in premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome due to lack of lung surfactant. If this approach fails, the next step is often intubation, mechanical ventilation (MV) and intratracheal instillation of clinical lung surfactant.
Objective. To investigate whether aerosol delivery of advanced synthetic lung surfactant, consisting of peptide mimics of surfactant proteins B and C (SP-B and SP-C) and synthetic lipids, during nCPAP improves lung function in surfactant-deficient rabbits.
Methods. Experimental synthetic lung surfactants were produced by formulating 3% Super Mini-B peptide (SMB surfactant), a highly surface active SP-B mimic, and a combination of 1.5% SMB and 1.5% of the SP-C mimic SP-Css ion-lock 1 (BC surfactant), with a synthetic lipid mixture. After testing aerosol generation using a vibrating membrane nebulizer and aerosol conditioning (particle size, surfactant composition and surface activity), we investigated the effects of aerosol delivery of synthetic SMB and BC surfactant preparations on oxygenation and lung compliance in saline-lavaged, surfactant-deficient rabbits, supported with either nCPAP or MV.
Results. Particle size distribution of the surfactant aerosols was within the 1–3 µm distribution range and surfactant activity was not affected by aerosolization. At a dose equivalent to clinical surfactant therapy in premature infants (100 mg/kg), aerosol delivery of both synthetic surfactant preparations led to a quick and clinically relevant improvement in oxygenation and lung compliance in the rabbits. Lung function recovered to a greater extent in rabbits supported with MV than with nCPAP. BC surfactant outperformed SMB surfactant in improving lung function and was associated with higher phospholipid values in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; these findings were irrespective of the type of ventilatory support (nCPAP or MV) used.
Conclusions. Aerosol delivery of synthetic lung surfactant with a combination of highly active second generation SP-B and SP-C mimics was effective as a therapeutic approach towards relieving surfactant deficiency in spontaneously breathing rabbits supported with nCPAP. To obtain similar results with nCPAP as with intratracheal instillation, higher dosage of synthetic surfactant and reduction of its retention by the delivery circuit will be needed to increase the lung dose.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Chemical spills are on the rise and inhalation of toxic chemicals may induce chemical acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Although the pathophysiology of ALI/ARDS is well understood, the absence of specific antidotes has limited the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
Objectives. Surfactant inactivation and formation of free radicals are important pathways in (chemical) ALI. We tested the potential of lipid mixtures with advanced surfactant protein B and C (SP-B and C) mimics to improve oxygenation and lung compliance in rabbits with lavage- and chemical-induced ALI/ARDS.
Methods. Ventilated young adult rabbits underwent repeated saline lung lavages or underwent intratracheal instillation of hydrochloric acid to induce ALI/ARDS. After establishment of respiratory failure rabbits were treated with a single intratracheal dose of 100 mg/kg of synthetic surfactant composed of 3% Super Mini-B (S-MB), a SP-B mimic, and/or SP-C33 UCLA, a SP-C mimic, in a lipid mixture (DPPC:POPC:POPG 5:3:2 by weight), the clinical surfactant Infasurf®, a bovine lung lavage extract with SP-B and C, or synthetic lipids alone. End-points consisted of arterial oxygenation, dynamic lung compliance, and protein and lipid content in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Potential mechanism of surfactant action for S-MB and SP-C33 UCLA were investigated with captive bubble surfactometry (CBS) assays.
Results. All three surfactant peptide/lipid mixtures and Infasurf equally lowered the minimum surface tension on CBS, and also improved oxygenation and lung compliance. In both animal models, the two-peptide synthetic surfactant with S-MB and SP-C33 UCLA led to better arterial oxygenation and lung compliance than single peptide synthetic surfactants and Infasurf. Synthetic surfactants and Infasurf improved lung function further in lavage- than in chemical-induced respiratory failure, with the difference probably due to greater capillary-alveolar protein leakage and surfactant dysfunction after HCl instillation than following lung lavage. At the end of the duration of the experiments, synthetic surfactants provided more clinical stability in ALI/ARDS than Infasurf, and the protein content of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was lowest for the two-peptide synthetic surfactant with S-MB and SP-C33 UCLA.
Conclusion. Advanced synthetic surfactant with robust SP-B and SP-C mimics is better equipped to tackle surfactant inactivation in chemical ALI than synthetic surfactant with only a single surfactant peptide or animal-derived surfactant.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A small library of monovalent Smac mimics with general structure NMeAla-Tle-(4R)-4-Benzyl-Pro-Xaa-cysteamide, was synthesized (Xaa=hydrophobic residue). The library was screened in vitro against human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, and two most active compounds oligomerized via S-alkylation giving bivalent and trivalent derivatives. The most active bivalent analogue SMAC17-2X was tested in vivo and in physiological conditions (mouse model) it exerted a potent anticancer effect resulting in ∼23.4days of tumor growth delay at 7.5mg/kg dose. Collectively, our findings suggest that bivalent Smac analogs obtained via S-alkylation protocol may be a suitable platform for the development of new anticancer therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Angioinvasion is a hallmark of mucormycosis. Previously, we identified endothelial cell glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as a receptor for Mucorales that mediates host cell invasion. Here we determined that spore coat protein homologs (CotH) of Mucorales act as fungal ligands for GRP78. CotH proteins were widely present in Mucorales and absent from noninvasive pathogens. Heterologous expression of CotH3 and CotH2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae conferred the ability to invade host cells via binding to GRP78. Homology modeling and computational docking studies indicated structurally compatible interactions between GRP78 and both CotH3 and CotH2. A mutant of Rhizopus oryzae, the most common cause of mucormycosis, with reduced CotH expression was impaired for invading and damaging endothelial cells and CHO cells overexpressing GRP78. This strain also exhibited reduced virulence in a diabetic ketoacidotic (DKA) mouse model of mucormycosis. Treatment with anti-CotH Abs abolished the ability of R. oryzae to invade host cells and protected DKA mice from mucormycosis. The presence of CotH in Mucorales explained the specific susceptibility of DKA patients, who have increased GRP78 levels, to mucormycosis. Together, these data indicate that CotH3 and CotH2 function as invasins that interact with host cell GRP78 to mediate pathogenic host-cell interactions and identify CotH as a promising therapeutic target for mucormycosis.
The Journal of clinical investigation 12/2013; 124(1). DOI:10.1172/JCI71349 · 13.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Domain formation in bacteria-mimetic membranes due to cationic peptide binding was recently proposed based on calorimetric data. We now use (2)H solid-state NMR to critically examine the presence and absence of domains in bacterial membranes containing zwitterionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylethanolamine (POPE) and anionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylglycerol (POPG) lipids. Chain-perdeuterated POPE and POPG are used in single-component membranes, binary POPE/POPG (3:1) membranes, and membranes containing one of four cationic peptides: two antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of the β-hairpin family of protegrin-1 (PG-1), and two cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), HIV TAT and penetratin. (2)H quadrupolar couplings were measured to determine the motional amplitudes of POPE and POPG acyl chains as a function of temperature. Homogeneously mixed POPE/POPG membranes should give the same quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, whereas the presence of membrane domains enriched in one of the two lipids should cause distinct (2)H quadrupolar couplings that reflect different chain disorder. At physiological temperature (308 K), we observed no or only small coupling differences between POPE and POPG in the presence of any of the cationic peptides. However, around ambient temperature (293 K), at which gel- and liquid-crystalline phases coexist in the peptide-free POPE/POPG membrane, the peptides caused distinct quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, indicating domain formation. The broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide PG-1 ordered ∼40% of the POPE lipids while disordering POPG. The Gram-negative selective PG-1 mutant, IB549, caused even larger differences in the POPE and POPG disorder: ∼80% of POPE partitioned into the ordered phase, whereas all of the POPG remained in the disordered phase. In comparison, TAT rigidified POPE and POPG similarly in the binary membrane at ambient temperature, indicating that TAT does not cause dynamic heterogeneity but interacts with the membrane with a different mechanism. Penetratin maintained the POPE order but disordered POPG, suggesting moderate domain separation. These results provide insight into the extent of domain formation in bacterial membranes and the possible peptide structural requirements for this phenomenon.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breathing is enabled by lung surfactant, a mixture of proteins and lipids that forms a surface-active layer and reduces surface tension at the air-water interface in lungs. Surfactant protein B (SP-B) is an essential component of lung surfactant. In this study we probe the mechanism underlying the important functional contributions made by the N-terminal 7 residues of SP-B, a region sometimes called the "insertion sequence". These studies employed a construct of SP-B, SP-B (1-25,63-78), also called Super Mini-B, which is a 41-residue peptide with internal disulfide bonds comprising the N-terminal 7-residue insertion sequence and the N- and C-terminal helices of SP-B. Circular dichroism, solution NMR, and solid state (2)H NMR were used to study the structure of SP-B (1-25,63-78) and its interactions with phospholipid bilayers. Comparison of results for SP-B (8-25,63-78) and SP-B (1-25,63-78) demonstrates that the presence of the 7-residue insertion sequence induces substantial disorder near the centre of the lipid bilayer, but without a major disruption of the overall mechanical orientation of the bilayers. This observation suggests the insertion sequence is unlikely to penetrate deeply into the bilayer. The 7-residue insertion sequence substantially increases the solution NMR linewidths, most likely due to an increase in global dynamics.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e72821. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072821 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fusion inhibitors are a class of antiretroviral drugs used to prevent entry of HIV into host cells. Many of the fusion inhibitors being developed, including the drug enfuvirtide, are peptides designed to competitively inhibit the viral fusion protein gp41. With the emergence of drug resistance, there is an increased need for effective and unique alternatives within this class of antivirals. One such alternative is a class of cyclic, cationic, antimicrobial peptides known as θ-defensins, which are produced by many non-human primates and exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral and antibacterial activity. Currently, the θ-defensin analog RC-101 is being developed as a microbicide due to its specific antiviral activity, lack of toxicity to cells and tissues, and safety in animals. Understanding potential RC-101 resistance, and how resistance to other fusion inhibitors affects RC-101 susceptibility, is critical for future development. In previous studies, we identified a mutant, R5-tropic virus that had evolved partial resistance to RC-101 during in vitro selection. Here, we report that a secondary mutation in gp41 was found to restore replicative fitness, membrane fusion, and the rate of viral entry, which were compromised by an initial mutation providing partial RC-101 resistance. Interestingly, we show that RC-101 is effective against two enfuvirtide-resistant mutants, demonstrating the clinical importance of RC-101 as a unique fusion inhibitor. These findings both expand our understanding of HIV drug-resistance to diverse peptide fusion inhibitors and emphasize the significance of compensatory gp41 mutations.
PLoS ONE 02/2013; 8(2):e55478. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0055478 · 3.23 Impact Factor