[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Prioritizing building blocks for combinatorial medicinal chemistry represents an optimization task. We present the application of an artificial ant colony algorithm to combinatorial molecular design (Molecular Ant Algorithm [MAntA]). Results: In a retrospective evaluation, the ant algorithm performed favorably compared with other stochastic optimization methods. Application of MAntA to peptide design resulted in new octapeptides exhibiting substantial binding to mouse MHC-I (H-2K(b)). In a second study, MAntA generated a new functional factor Xa inhibitor by Ugi-type three-component reaction. Conclusion: This proof-of-concept study validates artificial ant systems as innovative computational tools for efficient building block prioritization in combinatorial chemistry. Focused activity-enriched compound collections are obtained without the need for exhaustive product enumeration.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the development and application of a new machine-learning approach to exhaustively and reliably identify major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) ligands among all 20(8) octapeptides and in genome-derived proteomes of Mus musculus , influenza A H3N8, and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Focusing on murine H-2K(b), we identified potent octapeptides exhibiting direct MHC-I binding and stabilization on the surface of TAP-deficient RMA-S cells. Computationally identified VSV-derived peptides induced CD8(+) T-cell proliferation after VSV-infection of mice. The study demonstrates that high-level machine-learning models provide a unique access to rationally designed peptides and a promising approach toward "reverse vaccinology".
ACS Chemical Biology 06/2013; · 5.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Designed peptides that bind to major histocompatibility protein I (MHC-I) allomorphs bear the promise of representing epitopes that stimulate a desired immune response. A rigorous bioinformatical exploration of sequence patterns hidden in peptides that bind to the mouse MHC-I allomorph H-2K(b) is presented. We exemplify and validate these motif findings by systematically dissecting the epitope SIINFEKL and analyzing the resulting fragments for their binding potential to H-2K(b) in a thermal denaturation assay. The results demonstrate that only fragments exclusively retaining the carboxy- or amino-terminus of the reference peptide exhibit significant binding potential, with the N-terminal pentapeptide SIINF as shortest ligand. This study demonstrates that sophisticated machine-learning algorithms excel at extracting fine-grained patterns from peptide sequence data and predicting MHC-I binding peptides, thereby considerably extending existing linear prediction models and providing a fresh view on the computer-based molecular design of future synthetic vaccines. The server for prediction is available at http://modlab-cadd.ethz.ch (SLiDER tool, MHC-I version 2012).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Computer algorithms help in the identification and optimization of peptides with desired structure and function. We provide an overview of the current focus of our research group in this field, highlighting innovative methods for peptide representation and de novo peptide generation. Our evolutionary molecular design cycle contains structure-activity relationship modeling by machine-learning methods, virtual peptide generation, activity prediction, peptide syntheses, as well as biophysical and biochemical activity determination. Such interplay between computer-assisted peptide generation and scoring with real laboratory experiments enables rapid feedback throughout the design cycle so that adaptive optimization can take place. Selected practical applications are reviewed including the design of new immunomodulatory MHC-I binding peptides and antimicrobial peptides.
CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry 01/2013; 67(12):859-63. · 1.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Modulation of protein-protein interactions (PPI) has emerged as a new concept in rational drug design. Here, we present a computational protocol for identifying potential PPI inhibitors. Relevant regions of interfaces (epitopes) are predicted for three-dimensional protein models and serve as queries for virtual compound screening. We present a computational screening protocol that incorporates two different pharmacophore models. One model is based on the mathematical concept of autocorrelation vectors and the other utilizes fuzzy labeled graphs. In a proof-of-concept study, we were able to identify serine protease inhibitors using a predicted trypsin epitope as query. Our virtual screening framework may be suited for rapid identification of PPI inhibitors and suggesting bioactive tool compounds.
Journal of Computational Chemistry 12/2011; 33(5):573-9. · 3.84 Impact Factor