Macrocyclic Modalities Combining Peptide Epitopes and Natural Product Fragments
Guéret SM, Thavam S, Carbajo RJ, Potowski M, Larsson N, Dahl G, Grossmann T, Plowright AT, Valeur E, Lemruell M and Waldmann (2020) Nat Chem
“Hot loop” protein segments have variable structure and conformation and contribute crucially to protein-protein interactions. We describe a new hot loop mimicking modality, termed PepNats, in which natural product (NP)-inspired structures are incorporated as conformation-determining and -restricting structural elements into macrocyclic hot loop-derived peptides. Macrocyclic PepNats representing hot loops of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and human agouti-related protein (AGRP) were synthesized on solid support employing macrocyclization by imine formation and subsequent stereoselective 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition as key steps. PepNats derived from the iNOS DINNN hot loop and the AGRP RFF hot spot sequence yielded novel and potent ligands of the SPRY domain-containing SOCS box protein 2 (SPSB2) that binds to iNOS, and selective ligands for AGRP-binding melanocortin (MC) receptors. NP-inspired fragment absolute configuration determines the conformation of the peptide part responsible for binding. These results demonstrate that combination of NP-inspired scaffolds with peptidic epitopes enables identification of novel hot loop mimics with conformationally constrained and biologically relevant structure.