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Keywords:

  • apoptosis;
  • cancer;
  • oligosaccharides;
  • peptides;
  • polymers;
  • protein–protein interactions

Abstract

Multivalent peptide–oligosaccharide conjugates were prepared and used to investigate the multivalency effect concerning the activity of Bid-BH3 peptides in live cells. Dextran oligosaccharides were carboxyethylated selectively in the 2-position of the carbohydrate units and activated for the ligation of N-terminally cysteinylated peptides. Ligation through maleimide coupling was found to be superior to the native chemical ligation protocol. Monomeric Bid-BH3 peptides were virtually inactive, whereas pentameric peptide conjugates induced apoptosis up to 20-fold stronger at identical peptide concentrations. Comparison of lowly multivalent and highly multivalent peptide dextrans proved a multivalency effect in life cells which was specific for the BH3 peptide sequence.