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Published February 16, 2016 | public
Journal Article

Molecular Modulation of Protein Energy Landscapes


Protein catalyzed capture agents are an emerging class of oligopeptides that combine the benefits of small molecules and antibodies to furnish ligands with picomolar binding affinity, serum stability, and cell permeability. Their identification involves screening a synthetic, alkyne-functionalized epitope from a target protein against a library of cyclic peptides bearing terminal azides. We identified ligands that bind regions of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a protein that misfolds to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), consistently destabilized upon mutation. Treatment of the disease is challenging because there are over 180 heritable mutations of SOD1 and virtually no well-defined binding sites addressable by traditional ligand identification strategies. These mutations ultimately cause the protein to adopt toxic conformations that aggregate and damage cellular functions within the central nervous system. PCC agents targeting regions consistently destabilized across several mutations bind and stabilize its native conformation. We characterized the impact of binding, both on the ground state stability of several mutants as well as the kinetics of SOD1 folding and denaturation.

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© 2016 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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