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Studies on peptide foldamers.

  • Szefczyk, M.; Węglarz-Tomczak, E.; Fortuna, P.; Krzysztoń, A.; Rudzińska-Szostak, E.; Berlicki, Ł., Controlling the Helix Handedness of ααβ-Peptide Foldamers through Sequence Shifting Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 2087. View at Publisher

    Peptide foldamers containing both cis-β-aminocyclopentanecarboxylic acid and α-amino acid residues combined in various sequence patterns (ααβ, αααβ, αβααβ, and ααβαααβ) were screened using CD and NMR spectroscopy for the tendency to form helices. ααβ-Peptides were found to fold into an unprecedented and well-defined 16/17/15/18/14/17-helix. By extending the length of the sequence or shifting a fragment of the sequence from one terminus to another in ααβ-peptides, the balance between left-handed and right-handed helix populations present in the solution can be controlled. Engineering of the peptide sequence could lead to compounds with either a strong propensity for the selected helix sense or a mixture of helical conformations of opposite senses..
  • Wójcik, P.; Berlicki, Ł., Peptide-based inhibitors of protein–protein interactions. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2016, 26, 707. View at Publisher

    Protein–protein interactions (PPIs) are key elements of several important biological processes and have emerged as valuable targets in medicinal chemistry. Importantly, numerous specific protein–protein interactions (e.g., p53–HDM2 and Bcl-2–BH3 domains) were found to be involved in the development of several diseases, including various types of cancer. In general, the discovery of new synthetic PPI inhibitors is a challenging task because protein surfaces have not evolved in a manner that allows for specific binding of low molecular weight compounds. Here, we review the discovery strategies for peptide-based PPI inhibitors. Although peptide-based drug candidates exhibit significant drawbacks (in particular, low proteolytic stability), modifications of either the side chains or backbone could provide molecules of interest. Moreover, due to the large molecular size of peptide-based compounds, the discovery of molecules that specifically interact with extended protein surfaces is possible. Two major strategies for constructing peptide-based PPI inhibitors are as follows: (a) cyclization (e.g., stapled peptides) and (b) modification of the backbone structure (e.g., β-peptides and peptoids). These approaches for constructing PPI inhibitors enhance both the inhibitory activity and pharmacokinetic properties compared with non-modified α-peptides..
  • Cabrele, C.; Martinek, T. A.; Reiser, O.; Berlicki, Ł., Peptides containing beta-amino acid patterns—challenges and successes in medicinal chemistry J. Med. Chem. 2014, 57, 9718. View at Publisher

    The construction of bioactive peptides using β-amino acid containing sequence patterns is a very promising strategy to obtain analogs that exhibit properties of high interest for medicinal chemistry applications. β-Amino acids have been shown to modulate the conformation, dynamics, and proteolytic susceptibility of native peptides. They can be either combined with α-amino acids by following specific patterns, which results in backbone architectures with well-defined orientations of the side-chain functional groups, or assembled in de novo-designed bioactive β- or α,β-peptidic sequences. Such peptides display various biological functions, including antimicrobial activity, inhibition of protein-protein interactions, agonism/antagonism of GPCR ligands, and anti-angiogenic activity..