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Novel method could improve the performance of proteins used therapeutically
Date:3/9/2011

n in attaching PEG chains, Popp, who is a graduate student in the Ploegh lab, used the enzyme sortase A to cleave IFN-alpha 2 at a specific site on the protein, engineered so that it would be recognized by the sortase. Then, a small molecule bearing the PEG chain was attached at the site cleaved by sortase. When Popp tested for biological activity, the resulting IFN-alpha 2 was highly potent, indicating that the PEG chains were not interfering with the drug's binding ability.

Popp also used sortase A to suture PEG chains to the cytokine GCSF-3. When he tested the PEGylated version in mice, it remained in the bloodstream significantly longer and evoked a more robust and prolonged response than a non-PEGylated version. By using sortase A's inherent precision to attach PEG chains, Popp could replace the less precise chemistry-based technique with a highly effective method that should have broader applications.

Next, Popp addressed IFN-alpha 2's thermal stability. Previously, the Ploegh lab stabilized linear polypeptides like IFN-alpha 2 by molecularly gluing their ends together to form circles. A few such cyclic proteins are found in nature. Once circularized, cyclic proteins are often more stable than their linear precursors. This forced looping can interfere with the function of some cell-signaling proteins, but because IFN-alpha 2's binding site is not near its ends, the function of IFN-alpha 2 is unaffected when its ends are joined to form a circle.

To create a cyclic version of IFN-alpha 2, Popp used sortase A to join the two ends of IFN-alpha 2. When he heated the cyclic form of IFN-alpha 2, it was more resistant to breakdown than its linear counterpart and remained biologically potent even after boiling. Popp then tested the circular, PEGylated version and the linear version in mice. The modified version was metabolized more slowly than the linear version and maintained its thermal stability, demonstrating that this simple technique
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Contact: Nicole Giese
giese@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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