The interaction between the cell-cell adhesion proteins CD2 and CD58 plays a crucial role in lymphocyte recruitment to inflammatory sites, and inhibitors of this interaction have potential as immunomodulatory drugs in autoimmune diseases. Peptides from the CD2 adhesion domain were designed to inhibit CD2:CD58 interactions. To improve the stability of the peptides, β-sheet epitopes from the CD2 region implicated in CD58 recognition were grafted into the cyclic peptide frameworks of sunflower trypsin inhibitor and rhesus theta defensin. The designed multicyclic peptides were evaluated for their ability to modulate cell-cell interactions in three different cell adhesion assays, with one candidate, SFTI-a, showing potent activity in the nanomolar range (IC50: 51 nM). This peptide also suppresses the immune responses in T cells obtained from mice that exhibit the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. SFTI-a was resistant to thermal denaturation, as judged by circular dichroism spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, and had a half-life of 7sim;24 h in human serum. Binding of this peptide to CD58 was predicted by molecular docking studies and experimentally confirmed by surface plasmon resonance experiments. Our results suggest that cyclic peptides from natural sources are promising scaffolds for modulating protein-protein interactions that are typically difficult to target with small-molecule compounds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine