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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • insulin-like growth factor receptor;
  • lipopeptides;
  • protein–protein interactions;
  • retro-inverso

Abstract

Isolated protein motifs that are involved in interactions with their binding partners can be used to inhibit these interactions. However, peptides corresponding to protein fragments tend to have no defined secondary or tertiary structure in the absence of scaffolding by the rest of protein molecule. This results in low inhibitor potency. NMR and CD spectroscopy studies of lipopeptide inhibitors of the Hedgehog pathway revealed that membrane anchoring allows the cell membrane to function as a scaffold and facilitate the folding of short peptides. In addition, lipidation enhances cell permeability and increases the concentration of the compounds near the membrane, thus facilitating potent inhibition. The general applicability of this rational approach was further confirmed by the generation of selective antagonists of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor with GI50 values in the nanomolar range. Lipopeptides corresponding to protein fragments were found to serve as potent and selective inhibitors of a number of nondruggable molecular targets.