A Strategy to Select Macrocyclic Peptides Featuring Asymmetric Molecular Scaffolds as Cyclization Units by Phage Display

Titia Rixt Oppewal, Ivar D. Jansen, Johan Hekelaar, Clemens Mayer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Macrocyclic peptides (MPs) have positioned themselves as a privileged class of compounds for the discovery of therapeutics and development of chemical probes. Aided by the development of powerful selection strategies, high-affinity binders against biomolecular targets can readily be elicited from massive, genetically encoded libraries by affinity selection. For example, in phage display, MPs are accessed on the surface of whole bacteriophages via disulfide formation, the use of (symmetric) crosslinkers, or the incorporation of non-canonical amino acids. To facilitate a straightforward cyclization of linear precursors with asymmetric molecular scaffolds, which are often found at the core of naturally occurring MPs, we report an efficient two-step strategy to access MPs via the programmed modification of a unique cysteine residue and an N-terminal amine. We demonstrate that this approach yields MPs featuring asymmetric cyclization units from both synthetic peptides and when linear precursors are appended onto a phage-coat protein. Finally, we showcase that our cyclization strategy is compatible with traditional phage-display protocols and enables the selection of MP binders against a model target protein from naïve libraries. By enabling the incorporation of non-peptidic moieties that (1) can serve as cyclization units, (2) provide interactions for binding, and/or (3) tailor pharmacological properties, our head-to-side-chain cyclization strategy provides access to a currently under-explored chemical space for the development of chemical probes and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3644-3652
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2-Mar-2022

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