Design and synthesis of peptides that bind α-bungarotoxin with high affinity and mimic the three-dimensional structure of the binding-site of acetylcholine receptor

Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Roni Kasher, Moshe Balass, Tali Scherf, Michal Harel, Mati Fridkin, Joel L. Sussman, Sara Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

α-Bungarotoxin (α-BTX) is a highly toxic snake neurotoxin that binds to acetylcholine receptor (AChR) at the neuromuscular junction, and is a potent inhibitor of this receptor. In the following we review multi-phase research of the design, synthesis and structure analysis of peptides that bind α-BTX and inhibit its binding to AChR. Structure-based design concomitant with biological information of the α-BTX/AChR system yielded 13-mer peptides that bind to α-BTX with high affinity and are potent inhibitors of α-BTX binding to AChR (IC50 of 2 nM). X-Ray and NMR spectroscopy reveal that the high-affinity peptides fold into an anti-parallel β-hairpin structure when bound to α-BTX. The structures of the bound peptides and the homologous loop of acetylcholine binding protein, a soluble analog of AChR, are remarkably similar. Their superposition indicates that the toxin wraps around the binding-site loop, and in addition, binds tightly at the interface of two of the receptor subunits and blocks access of acetylcholine to its binding site. The procedure described in this article may serve as a paradigm for obtaining high-affinity peptides in biochemical systems that contain a ligand and a receptor molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Volume100
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acetylcholine receptor
  • Binding site
  • High-affinity peptide
  • Systematic residue replacement
  • α-Bungarotoxin

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