3 years ago

Unique amalgamation of primary and secondary structural elements transform peptaibols into potent bioactive cell-penetrating peptides [Chemistry]

Unique amalgamation of primary and secondary structural elements transform peptaibols into potent bioactive cell-penetrating peptides [Chemistry]
Jean C. Bopassa, Carter A. Mitchell, Bradley S. Stevenson, Ning Pan, Jarrod B. King, Robert H. Cichewicz, Susan I. V. Judge, Blake W. Stamps, Jianlan You, Lin Du, Zhibo Yang, April L. Risinger

Mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics and molecular phylogeny data were used to identify a metabolically prolific strain of Tolypocladium that was obtained from a deep-water Great Lakes sediment sample. An investigation of the isolate’s secondary metabolome resulted in the purification of a 22-mer peptaibol, gichigamin A (1). This peptidic natural product exhibited an amino acid sequence including several β-alanines that occurred in a repeating ααβ motif, causing the compound to adopt a unique right-handed 311 helical structure. The unusual secondary structure of 1 was confirmed by spectroscopic approaches including solution NMR, electronic circular dichroism (ECD), and single-crystal X-ray diffraction analyses. Artificial and cell-based membrane permeability assays provided evidence that the unusual combination of structural features in gichigamins conferred on them an ability to penetrate the outer membranes of mammalian cells. Compound 1 exhibited potent in vitro cytotoxicity (GI50 0.55 ± 0.04 µM) and in vivo antitumor effects in a MIA PaCa-2 xenograft mouse model. While the primary mechanism of cytotoxicity for 1 was consistent with ion leakage, we found that it was also able to directly depolarize mitochondria. Semisynthetic modification of 1 provided several analogs, including a C-terminus-linked coumarin derivative (22) that exhibited appreciably increased potency (GI50 5.4 ± 0.1 nM), but lacked ion leakage capabilities associated with a majority of naturally occurring peptaibols such as alamethicin. Compound 22 was found to enter intact cells and induced cell death in a process that was preceded by mitochondrial depolarization.

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