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Keywords:

  • CD2;
  • CD58;
  • collagen-induced arthritis;
  • cyclic peptide;
  • docking;
  • immune response;
  • protein–protein interaction

Targeting co-stimulatory molecules to modulate the immune response has been shown to have useful therapeutic effects for autoimmune diseases. Among the co-stimulatory molecules, CD2 and CD58 are very important in the early stages of generation of an immune response. Our goal was to utilize CD2-derived peptides to modulate protein–protein interactions between CD2 and CD58, thereby modulating the immune response. Several peptides were designed based on the structure of the CD58-binding domain of CD2 protein. Among the CD2-derived peptides, peptide 6 from the F and C β-strand region of CD2 protein exhibited inhibition of cell–cell adhesion in the nanomolar concentration range. Peptide 6 was evaluated for its ability to bind to CD58 in Caco-2 cells and to CD48 in T cells from rodents. A molecular model was proposed for binding a peptide to CD58 and CD48 using docking studies. Furthermore, in vivo studies were carried out to evaluate the therapeutic ability of the peptide to modulate the immune response in the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model. In vivo studies indicated that peptide 6 was able to suppress the progression of CIA. Evaluation of the antigenicity of peptides in CIA and transgenic animal models indicated that this peptide is not immunogenic.