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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 11, 1994; 91(21): 9765–9769.

Antigenic mimicry of natural L-peptides with retro-inverso-peptidomimetics.


Three analogues of the model peptide of sequence IRGERA corresponding to the COOH-terminal residues 130-135 of histone H3 were synthesized, and their antigenicity, immunogenicity, and resistance to trypsin were compared to those of the natural L-peptide. The three analogues correspond to the D-enantiomer, containing only D-residues, and two retro-peptides containing NH-CO bonds instead of natural peptide bonds. The chirality of each residue was maintained in the retro-peptide and inverted in the retro-inverso-peptide. Antibodies to the four peptide analogues were produced by injecting BALB/c mice with peptides covalently coupled to small unilamellar liposomes containing monophosphoryl lipid A. Each of the four peptide analogues induced IgG antibodies of various subclasses. The IgG3 antibodies reacted similarly with the four analogues, whereas antibodies of the IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b isotypes showed strong conformational preferences for certain peptides. The retro-inverso-peptide IRGERA mimicked the structure and antigenic activity of the natural L-peptide but not of the D- and retro-peptides, whereas the retro-peptide IRGERA mimicked the D-peptide but not the L- and retro-inverso-peptides. The equilibrium affinity constants (Ka) of three monoclonal antibodies generated against the L- and D-peptides with respect to the four peptide analogues were measured in a biosensor system. Large differences in Ka values were observed when each monoclonal antibody was tested with respect to the four peptides. The use of retro-inverso-peptides to replace natural L-peptides is likely to find many applications in immunodiagnosis and as potential synthetic vaccines.

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