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ACS Chem Biol. 2015 Mar 20;10(3):844-54. doi: 10.1021/cb500888q. Epub 2015 Jan 5.

Consequences of periodic α-to-β(3) residue replacement for immunological recognition of peptide epitopes.

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⊥La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, California United States.


Oligomers that contain both α- and β-amino acid residues, or "α/β-peptides", have emerged as promising mimics of signal-bearing polypeptides that can inhibit or augment natural protein-protein interactions. α/β-Peptides that contain a sufficient proportion of β residues evenly distributed along the sequence can be highly resistant to enzymatic degradation, which is favorable with regard to in vivo applications. Little is known, however, about recognition of α/β-peptides by the immune system. Prior studies have focused almost entirely on examples that contain a single β residue; such α/β-peptides frequently retain the immunological profile of the analogous α-peptide. We have conducted α-peptide vs α/β-peptide comparisons involving higher β residue content, focusing on molecules with αααβ and ααβαααβ backbone repeat patterns. Among analogues of an 18-mer derived from the Bim BH3 domain and an 8-mer derived from secreted phospholipase-2 (sPLA2), we find that recognition by antibodies raised against the prototype α-peptide is suppressed by periodic α → β replacements. Complementary studies reveal that antibodies raised against Bim BH3- or sPLA2-derived α/β-peptides fail to recognize prototype α-peptides displaying identical side chain repertoires. Because polypeptides containing d-α-amino acid residues are of growing interest for biomedical applications, we included the enantiomer of the sPLA2-derived α-peptide in these studies; this d-peptide is fully competent as a hapten, but the resulting antibodies do not cross react with the enantiomeric peptide. Among analogues of the 9-mer CD8(+) T-cell viral epitope GP33, we observe that periodic α → β replacements suppress participation in the MHC I + peptide + T-cell receptor ternary complexes that activate cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, due in part to disruption of MHC binding.

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