Bacterial display and screening of posttranslationally thioether-stabilized peptides.
ABSTRACT: A major hurdle in the application of therapeutic peptides is their rapid degradation by peptidases. Thioether bridges effectively protect therapeutic peptides against breakdown, thereby strongly increasing bioavailability, enabling oral and pulmonary delivery and potentially significantly optimizing the receptor interaction of selected variants. To efficiently select optimal variants, a library of DNA-coupled thioether-bridged peptides is highly desirable. Here, we present a unique cell surface display system of thioether-bridged peptides and successfully demonstrate highly selective screening. Peptides are posttranslationally modified by thioether bridge-installing enzymes in Lactococcus lactis, followed by export and sortase-mediated covalent coupling to the lactococcal cell wall. This allows the combinatorial optimization and selection of medically and economically highly important therapeutic peptides with strongly enhanced therapeutic potential.
Project description:Nisin is a lanthionine-containing antimicrobial peptide produced by Lactococcus lactis. Its (methyl)lanthionines are introduced by two posttranslational enzymatic steps involving the dehydratase NisB, which dehydrates serine and threonine residues, and the cyclase NisC, which couples these dehydrated residues to cysteines, yielding thioether-bridged amino acids called lanthionines. The prenisin is subsequently exported by the ABC transporter NisT and extracellularly processed by the peptidase NisP. L. lactis expressing the nisBTC genes can modify and secrete a wide range of nonlantibiotic peptides. Here we demonstrate that in the absence of NisT and NisC, the Sec pathway of L. lactis can be exploited for the secretion of dehydrated variants of therapeutic peptides. Furthermore, posttranslational modifications by NisB and NisC still occur even when the nisin leader is preceded by a Sec signal peptide or a Tat signal peptide 27 or 44 amino acids long, respectively. However, transport of fully modified prenisin via the Sec pathway is impaired. The extent of NisB-mediated dehydration could be improved by raising the intracellular concentration NisB or by modulating the export efficiency through altering the signal sequence. These data demonstrate that besides the traditional lantibiotic transporter NisT, the Sec pathway with an established broad substrate range can be utilized for the improved export of lantibiotic enzyme-modified (poly)peptides.
Project description:Disulfide bonds are essential for the structural stability and biological activity of many bioactive peptides. However, these bonds are labile to reducing agents, which can limit the therapeutic utility of such peptides. Substitution of a disulfide bond with a reduction-resistant cystathionine bridge is an attractive means of improving stability while imposing minimal structural perturbation to the peptide. We have applied this approach to the therapeutic complement inhibitor compstatin, a disulfide-containing peptide currently in clinical trials for age-related macular degeneration, in an effort to maintain its potent activity while improving its biological stability. Thioether-containing compstatin analogues were produced via solid-phase peptide synthesis utilizing orthogonally protected cystathionine amino acid building blocks and solid-supported peptide cyclization. Overall, the affinity of these analogues for their biological target and potent inhibition of complement activation were largely maintained when compared to those of the parent disulfide-containing peptides. Thus, the improved stability to reduction conferred by the thioether bond makes this new class of compstatin peptides a promising alternative for therapeutic applications. Additionally, the versatility of this synthesis allows for exploration of disulfide-to-thioether substitution in a variety of other therapeutic peptides.
Project description:Thioether containing peptides were obtained following three synthetic routes. In route A, halo acids esterified on 2-chlorotrityl(Cltr) resin were reacted with N-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (Fmoc) aminothiols. These were either cleaved from the resin to the corresponding (Fmoc-aminothiol)carboxylic acids, which were used as key building blocks in solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS), or the N-Fmoc group was deprotected and peptide chains were elongated by standard SPPS. The obtained N-Fmoc protected thioether containing peptides were then condensed either in solution, or on solid support, with the appropriate amino components of peptides. In route B, the thioether containing peptides were obtained by the reaction of N-Fmoc aminothiols with bromoacetylated peptides, which were synthesized on Cltr-resin, followed by removal of the N-Fmoc group and subsequent peptide elongation by standard SPPS. In route C, the thioether containing peptides were obtained by the condensation of a haloacylated peptide synthesized on Cltr-resin and a thiol-peptide synthesized either on 4-methoxytrityl(Mmt) or trityl(Trt) resin.
Project description:Macrocyclic peptides are an emerging class of bioactive compounds for therapeutic use. In part, this is because they are capable of high potency and excellent target affinity and selectivity. Over the last decade, several biochemical techniques have been developed for the identification of bioactive macrocyclic peptides, allowing for the rapid isolation of high affinity ligands to a target of interest. A common feature of these techniques is a general reliance on thioether formation to effect macrocyclization. Increasingly, the compounds identified using these approaches have been subjected to x-ray crystallographic analysis bound to their respective targets, providing detailed structural information about their conformation and mechanism of target binding. The present review provides an overview of the target bound thioether-closed macrocyclic peptide structures that have been obtained to date.
Project description:Lantibiotic synthetases generate intramolecular thioether cross-links within peptides through the Michael-type addition of cysteines onto dehydroamino acids originating from Ser and Thr. Presented here is an assay that readily distinguishes between enzymatic and nonenzymatic formation of these cross-links. The results demonstrate unequivocally that lacticin 481 synthetase can generate non-native thioether cross-links.
Project description:Sulfur to ?-carbon thioether-containing peptides (sactipeptides) are ribosomally synthesized post-translationally modified peptides with bacteriocidal activities. The thioether cross-link, which is required for biological activity, is installed by a member of the radical S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) superfamily in the peptide substrate. Herein, we show that the radical SAM enzyme, SkfB, utilizes the 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical generated from the reductive cleavage of SAM to abstract a hydrogen atom from the ?-carbon of the amino acid at position 12 in the substrate, SkfA, to initiate the installation of a thioether cross-link. The insights from this work can be applied to all radical SAM sactipeptide maturases.
Project description:In response to the growing threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, extensive research is currently focused on developing antimicrobial agents that target lipid II, a vital precursor in the biosynthesis of bacterial cell walls. The lantibiotic nisin and related peptides display unique and highly selective binding to lipid II. A key feature of the nisin-lipid II interaction is the formation of a cage-like complex between the pyrophosphate moiety of lipid II and the two thioether-bridged rings, rings A and B, at the N-terminus of nisin. To understand the important structural factors underlying this highly selective molecular recognition, we have used solid-phase peptide synthesis to prepare individual ring A and B structures from nisin, the related lantibiotic mutacin, and synthetic analogues. Through NMR studies of these rings, we have demonstrated that ring A is preorganized to adopt the correct conformation for binding lipid II in solution and that individual amino acid substitutions in ring A have little effect on the conformation. We have also analyzed the turn structures adopted by these thioether-bridged peptides and show that they do not adopt the tight ?-turn or ?-turn structures typically found in proteins.
Project description:Introducing one or more intramolecular thioether bridges in a peptide provides a promising approach to create more stable molecules with improved pharmacodynamic properties and especially to protect peptides against proteolytic degradation. Lanthipeptides are compounds that naturally possess thioether bonds in their structure. The model lanthipeptide, nisin, is produced by Lactococcus lactis as a core peptide fused to a leader peptide. The modification machinery responsible for nisin production, including the Ser/Thr-dehydratase NisB and the cyclase NisC, can be applied for introducing a thioether bridge into peptides fused to the nisin leader peptide, e.g., to replace a disulfide bond. Vasopressin plays a key role in water homeostasis in the human body and helps to constrict blood vessels. There are two cysteine residues in the structure of wild type vasopressin, which form a disulfide bridge in the mature peptide. Here, we show it is possible to direct the biosynthesis of vasopressin variants in such a way that the disulfide bridge is replaced by a thioether bridge using the nisin modification machinery NisBTC, albeit at low efficiency. Vasopressin mutants were fused either to the nisin leader peptide directly (Type A), after the first three rings of nisin (Type B/C), or after full nisin (Type D). The type B strategy was optimal for expression. LC-MS/MS data verified the formation of a thioether bridge, which provides proof of principle for this modification in vasopressin. This is a first step prior to the necessary increase of the production yield and further purification of these peptides to finally test their biological activity in tissue and animal models.
Project description:The radical non-?-carbon thioether peptides (ranthipeptides) are a newly described class of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide (RiPP). Ranthipeptide biosynthetic gene clusters are characterized by a Cys-rich precursor peptide and a radical S-adenosylmethionine (rSAM)-dependent enzyme that forms a thioether linkage between a Cys donor and an acceptor residue. Unlike the sulfur-to-?-carbon linked thioether peptides (sactipeptides), known ranthipeptides contain thioethers to either the ?- or ?-carbon (i.e., non-?-carbon) of an acceptor residue. Recently, we reported the discovery of freyrasin, a ranthipeptide from Paenibacillus polymyxa, which contains six thioethers from Cys-X3-Asp motifs present in the precursor peptide (PapA). The linkages are exclusively to the ?-carbon of Asp (S-C?). In this report, we performed mutational analysis of PapA and the cognate thioether-forming rSAM enzyme (PapB) to define the substrate scope. Using a mass spectrometry-based activity assay, our data show that PapB is intolerant toward Ala and Asn in the acceptor position but tolerates Glu-containing variants. NMR spectroscopic data of a Glu variant demonstrated that the thioether linkage was to the 4-position of Glu (S-C?). Furthermore, we demonstrate that PapB is intolerant to expansion and contraction of the thioether motifs (Cys-Xn-Asp, n = 2 or 4), although a minimal substrate featuring only one Cys-X3-Asp motif was competent for thioether formation. Akin to the sactipeptides, PapB was dependent on a RiPP recognition element (RRE) to bind the cognate precursor peptide, with deletion resulting in loss-of-function in vivo. The activity of PapB could be restored in vivo by supplying the excised RRE in trans. Finally, we reconstituted the activity of PapB in vitro, which led to modification of all six Cys residues in PapA. These studies provide insights into ranthipeptide biosynthesis and expand our understanding of rSAM enzyme chemistry in natural product biosynthesis.
Project description:Sactipeptides are ribosomally synthesized peptides that contain a characteristic thioether bridge (sactionine bond) that is installed posttranslationally and is absolutely required for their antibiotic activity. Sactipeptide biosynthesis requires a unique family of radical SAM enzymes, which contain multiple [4Fe-4S] clusters, to form the requisite thioether bridge between a cysteine and the ?-carbon of an opposing amino acid through radical-based chemistry. Here we present the structure of the sactionine bond-forming enzyme CteB, from Clostridium thermocellum ATCC 27405, with both SAM and an N-terminal fragment of its peptidyl-substrate at 2.04 Å resolution. CteB has the (?/?)6-TIM barrel fold that is characteristic of radical SAM enzymes, as well as a C-terminal SPASM domain that contains two auxiliary [4Fe-4S] clusters. Importantly, one [4Fe-4S] cluster in the SPASM domain exhibits an open coordination site in absence of peptide substrate, which is coordinated by a peptidyl-cysteine residue in the bound state. The crystal structure of CteB also reveals an accessory N-terminal domain that has high structural similarity to a recently discovered motif present in several enzymes that act on ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs), known as a RiPP precursor peptide recognition element (RRE). This crystal structure is the first of a sactionine bond forming enzyme and sheds light on structures and mechanisms of other members of this class such as AlbA or ThnB.