Homotrimerization Approach in the Design of Thrombospondin-1 Mimetic Peptides with Improved Potency in Triggering Regulated Cell Death of Cancer Cells


Thomas Denèfle, Elodie Pramil, Luis Gómez-Morales, Mikail D. Levasseur, Eva Lardé, Clara Newton, Kenny Herry, Linda Herbi, Yann Lamotte, Estelle Odile, Nicolas Ancellin, Pascal Grondin, Ana-Carolina Martinez-Torres, Fabrice Viviani, Hélène Merle-Beral, Olivier Lequin, Santos A. Susin, and Philippe Karoyan


In order to optimize the potency of the first serum-stable peptide agonist of CD47 (PKHB1) in triggering regulated cell death of cancer cells, we designed a maturation process aimed to mimic the trimeric structure of the thrombospondin-1/CD47 binding epitope. For that purpose, an N-methylation scan of the PKHB1 sequence was realized to prevent peptide aggregation. Structural and pharmacological analyses were conducted in order to assess the conformational impact of these chemical modifications on the backbone structure and the biological activity. This structure–activity relationship study led to the discovery of a highly soluble N-methylated peptide that we termed PKT16. Afterward, this monomer was used for the design of a homotrimeric peptide mimic that we termed [PKT16]3, which proved to be 10-fold more potent than its monomeric counterpart. A pharmacological evaluation of [PKT16]3 in inducing cell death of adherent (A549) and nonadherent (MEC-1) cancer cell lines was also performed.

Ref: J. Med. Chem. 2019, 62, 17, 7656–7668

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