Send to

Choose Destination
Methods Mol Biol. 2020;2070:363-396. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9853-1_21.

Mammalian Surface Display Screening of Diverse Cystine-Dense Peptide Libraries for Difficult-to-Drug Targets.

Author information

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.
Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.


Many diseases are mediated by targets that are not amenable to conventional small-molecule drug approaches. While antibody-based drugs have undeniable utility, peptides of the 1-9 kDa size range (10-80 amino acids) have drawn interest as alternate drug scaffolds This is born of a desire to identify compounds with the advantages of antibody-based therapeutics (affinity, potency, specificity, and ability to disrupt protein:protein interactions) without all of their liabilities (large size, expensive manufacturing, and necessity of humanization). Of these alternate scaffolds, cystine-dense peptides (CDPs) have several specific benefits. Due to their stable intra-chain disulfide bridges, CDPs often demonstrate resistance to heat and proteolysis, along with low immunogenicity. These properties do not require chemical modifications, permitting CDP screening by conventional genetic means. The cystine topology of a typical CDP requires an oxidative environment, and we have found that the mammalian secretory pathway is most effective at allowing diverse CDPs to achieve a stable fold. As such, high-diversity screens to identify CDPs that interact with targets of interest can be efficiently conducted using mammalian surface display. In this protocol, we present the theory and tools to conduct a mammalian surface display screen for CDPs that bind with targets of interest, including the steps to validate binding and mature the affinity of preliminary candidates. With these methods, CDPs of all kinds can be brought to bear against targets that would benefit from a peptide-based intervention.


Cysteine-rich; Drug discovery; Flow cytometry; High throughput; Peptides; Screening; Surface display

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center