Biosynthesis of lanthionine-constrained agonists of G protein-coupled receptors

Gert N Moll*, Anneke Kuipers, Rick Rink, Tjibbe Bosma, Louwe de Vries, Pawel Namsolleck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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The conformation with which natural agonistic peptides interact with G protein-coupled receptor(s) (GPCR(s)) partly results from intramolecular interactions such as hydrogen bridges or is induced by ligand-receptor interactions. The conformational freedom of a peptide can be constrained by intramolecular cross-links. Conformational constraints enhance the receptor specificity, may lead to biased activity and confer proteolytic resistance to peptidic GPCR agonists. Chemical synthesis allows to introduce a variety of cross-links into a peptide and is suitable for bulk production of relatively simple lead peptides. Lanthionines are thioether bridged alanines of which the two alanines can be introduced at different distances in chosen positions in a peptide. Thioether bridges are much more stable than disulfide bridges. Biosynthesis of lanthionine-constrained peptides exploiting engineered Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria that contain lanthionine-introducing enzymes constitutes a convenient method for discovery of lanthionine-stabilized GPCR agonists. The presence of an N-terminal leader peptide enables dehydratases to dehydrate serines and threonines in the peptide of interest after which a cyclase can couple the formed dehydroamino acids to cysteines forming (methyl)lanthionines. The leader peptide also guides the export of the formed lanthionine-containing precursor peptide out of Gram-positive bacteria via a lanthipeptide transporter. An engineered cleavage site in the C-terminus of the leader peptide allows to cleave off the leader peptide yielding the modified peptide of interest. Lanthipeptide GPCR agonists are an emerging class of therapeutics of which a few examples have demonstrated high efficacy in animal models of a variety of diseases. One lanthipeptide GPCR agonist has successfully passed clinical Phase Ia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2195-2203
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14-Oct-2020

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