Development, Characterization, and Application of Bioactive Peptides, Diagnostic Biomarkers, and Pharmaceutical Proteins

A special issue of Biomolecules (ISSN 2218-273X). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules: Proteins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 9785

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology, College of Biomedical & Health Science, Konkuk University, Chungju, Chungbuk 27487, Republic of Korea
Interests: protein structure; protein engineering; biopharmaceuticals; bioactive peptides

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Guest Editor
College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 28160, Republic of Korea
Interests: structure-based drug discovery; antibody engineering; biopharmaceutical analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As proteins and peptides are the most abundant and versatile biomolecules playing many critical roles in nearly every life process, many proteins/peptides are also deeply associated with human health and diseases. Various protein/peptide molecules have been proposed as biomarkers with potential diagnostic or prognostic value, and renewed interests in exploring peptides/proteins as crucial targets for therapeutic purposes has arisen. Bioactive proteins/peptides including various enzymes, antibodies, and peptide hormones have been developed and serve as biopharmaceuticals for clinical use. In addition, the advances in protein/peptide technology include the development of pharmaceutical molecular platforms such as peptide nanoparticles and drug delivery systems.

For this Special Issue, we would like to invite review papers or original research articles that address the topic of biopharmaceutical proteins/peptides. Studies that contribute to advancing the molecular engineering and production process of the biopharmaceutical peptides/proteins, as well as manuscripts providing novel application-oriented perspectives, are also highly welcome.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Hyung-Sik Won
Prof. Dr. Ji-Hun Kim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • bioactive peptides
  • biomarker proteins
  • pharmaceutical proteins
  • protein engineering
  • protein/peptide nanoparticles
  • protein/peptide production process
  • enzymology
  • antibody technology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1148 KiB  
Article
Synthesis of the Antimicrobial Peptide Murepavadin Using Novel Coupling Agents
by Júlia García-Gros, Yolanda Cajal, Ana Maria Marqués and Francesc Rabanal
Biomolecules 2024, 14(5), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom14050526 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 782
Abstract
The problem of antimicrobial resistance is becoming a daunting challenge for human society and healthcare systems around the world. Hence, there is a constant need to develop new antibiotics to fight resistant bacteria, among other important social and economic measures. In this regard, [...] Read more.
The problem of antimicrobial resistance is becoming a daunting challenge for human society and healthcare systems around the world. Hence, there is a constant need to develop new antibiotics to fight resistant bacteria, among other important social and economic measures. In this regard, murepavadin is a cyclic antibacterial peptide in development. The synthesis of murepavadin was undertaken in order to optimize the preparative protocol and scale-up, in particular, the use of new activation reagents. In our hands, classical approaches using carbodiimide/hydroxybenzotriazole rendered low yields. The use of novel carbodiimide and reagents based on OxymaPure® and Oxy-B is discussed together with the proper use of chromatographic conditions for the adequate characterization of peptide crudes. Higher yields and purities were obtained. Finally, the antimicrobial activity of different synthetic batches was tested in three Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains, including highly resistant ones. All murepavadin batches yielded the same highly active MIC values and proved that the chiral integrity of the molecule was preserved throughout the whole synthetic procedure. Full article
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12 pages, 2607 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Self-Assembled Low- and High-Molecular-Weight Poly-L-Lysine–Ce6 Conjugate-Based Nanoparticles
by Minho Seo, Kyeong-Ju Lee, Bison Seo, Jun-Hyuck Lee, Jae-Hyeon Lee, Dong-Wook Shin and Jooho Park
Biomolecules 2024, 14(4), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom14040431 - 2 Apr 2024
Viewed by 767
Abstract
In cancer therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted significant attention due to its high potential for tumor-selective treatment. However, PDT agents often exhibit poor physicochemical properties, including solubility, necessitating the development of nanoformulations. In this study, we developed two cationic peptide-based self-assembled nanomaterials [...] Read more.
In cancer therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted significant attention due to its high potential for tumor-selective treatment. However, PDT agents often exhibit poor physicochemical properties, including solubility, necessitating the development of nanoformulations. In this study, we developed two cationic peptide-based self-assembled nanomaterials by using a PDT agent, chlorin e6 (Ce6). To manufacture biocompatible nanoparticles based on peptides, we used the cationic poly-L-lysine peptide, which is rich in primary amines. We prepared low- and high-molecular-weight poly-L-lysine, and then evaluated the formation and performance of nanoparticles after chemical conjugation with Ce6. The results showed that both molecules formed self-assembled nanoparticles by themselves in saline. Interestingly, the high-molecular-weight poly-L-lysine and Ce6 conjugates (HPLCe6) exhibited better self-assembly and PDT performance than low-molecular-weight poly-L-lysine and Ce6 conjugates (LPLCe6). Moreover, the HPLCe6 conjugates showed superior cellular uptake and exhibited stronger cytotoxicity in cell toxicity experiments. Therefore, it is functionally beneficial to use high-molecular-weight poly-L-lysine in the manufacturing of poly-L-lysine-based self-assembling biocompatible PDT nanoconjugates. Full article
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23 pages, 4768 KiB  
Article
The Adipokinetic Hormone (AKH) and the Adipokinetic Hormone/Corazonin-Related Peptide (ACP) Signalling Systems of the Yellow Fever Mosquito Aedes aegypti: Chemical Models of Binding
by Graham E. Jackson, Marc-Antoine Sani, Heather G. Marco, Frances Separovic and Gerd Gäde
Biomolecules 2024, 14(3), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom14030313 - 6 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Neuropeptides are the main regulators of physiological, developmental, and behavioural processes in insects. Three insect neuropeptide systems, the adipokinetic hormone (AKH), corazonin (Crz), and adipokinetic hormone/corazonin-related peptide (ACP), and their cognate receptors, are related to the vertebrate gonadotropin (GnRH) system and form the [...] Read more.
Neuropeptides are the main regulators of physiological, developmental, and behavioural processes in insects. Three insect neuropeptide systems, the adipokinetic hormone (AKH), corazonin (Crz), and adipokinetic hormone/corazonin-related peptide (ACP), and their cognate receptors, are related to the vertebrate gonadotropin (GnRH) system and form the GnRH superfamily of peptides. In the current study, the two signalling systems, AKH and ACP, of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, were comparatively investigated with respect to ligand binding to their respective receptors. To achieve this, the solution structure of the hormones was determined by nuclear magnetic resonance distance restraint methodology. Atomic-scale models of the two G protein-coupled receptors were constructed with the help of homology modelling. Thereafter, the binding sites of the receptors were identified by blind docking of the ligands to the receptors, and models were derived for each hormone system showing how the ligands are bound to their receptors. Lastly, the two models were validated by comparing the computational results with experimentally derived data available from the literature. This mostly resulted in an acceptable agreement, proving the models to be largely correct and usable. The identification of an antagonist versus a true agonist may, however, require additional testing. The computational data also explains the exclusivity of the two systems that bind only the cognate ligand. This study forms the basis for further drug discovery studies. Full article
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12 pages, 1573 KiB  
Communication
Preventive Effects of Collagen-Derived Dipeptide Prolyl-Hydroxyproline against Dexamethasone-Induced Muscle Atrophy in Mouse C2C12 Skeletal Myotubes
by Yoshifumi Kimira, Konosuke Osawa, Yoshihiro Osawa and Hiroshi Mano
Biomolecules 2023, 13(11), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom13111617 - 5 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1653
Abstract
Glucocorticoids, commonly used to manage inflammatory diseases, can induce muscle atrophy by accelerating the breakdown of muscle proteins. This research delves into the influence of Prolyl-hydroxyproline (Pro-Hyp), a collagen-derived peptide, on muscle atrophy induced with dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid, in mouse C2C12 [...] Read more.
Glucocorticoids, commonly used to manage inflammatory diseases, can induce muscle atrophy by accelerating the breakdown of muscle proteins. This research delves into the influence of Prolyl-hydroxyproline (Pro-Hyp), a collagen-derived peptide, on muscle atrophy induced with dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid, in mouse C2C12 skeletal myotubes. Exposure to DEX (10 μM) for 6 days resulted in a decrease in myotube diameter, along with elevated mRNA and protein levels of two muscle-atrophy-related ubiquitin ligases, muscle atrophy F-box (MAFbx, also known as atrogin-1) and muscle ring finger 1 (MuRF-1). Remarkably, treatment with 0.1 mM of Pro-Hyp mitigated the reduction in myotube thickness caused by DEX, while promoting the phosphorylation of Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and forkhead box O3a (Foxo3a). This led to the inhibition of the upregulation of the ubiquitin ligases atrogin-1 and MuRF-1. These findings indicate the potential significance of Pro-Hyp as a promising therapeutic target for countering DEX-induced muscle atrophy. Full article
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18 pages, 4318 KiB  
Article
Revisiting Concurrent Radiation Therapy, Temozolomide, and the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Valproic Acid for Patients with Glioblastoma—Proteomic Alteration and Comparison Analysis with the Standard-of-Care Chemoirradiation
by Andra V. Krauze, Yingdong Zhao, Ming-Chung Li, Joanna Shih, Will Jiang, Erdal Tasci, Theresa Cooley Zgela, Mary Sproull, Megan Mackey, Uma Shankavaram, Philip Tofilon and Kevin Camphausen
Biomolecules 2023, 13(10), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom13101499 - 10 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1740
Abstract
Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common brain tumor with an overall survival (OS) of less than 30% at two years. Valproic acid (VPA) demonstrated survival benefits documented in retrospective and prospective trials, when used in combination with chemo-radiotherapy (CRT). Purpose: The primary [...] Read more.
Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common brain tumor with an overall survival (OS) of less than 30% at two years. Valproic acid (VPA) demonstrated survival benefits documented in retrospective and prospective trials, when used in combination with chemo-radiotherapy (CRT). Purpose: The primary goal of this study was to examine if the differential alteration in proteomic expression pre vs. post-completion of concurrent chemoirradiation (CRT) is present with the addition of VPA as compared to standard-of-care CRT. The second goal was to explore the associations between the proteomic alterations in response to VPA/RT/TMZ correlated to patient outcomes. The third goal was to use the proteomic profile to determine the mechanism of action of VPA in this setting. Materials and Methods: Serum obtained pre- and post-CRT was analyzed using an aptamer-based SOMAScan® proteomic assay. Twenty-nine patients received CRT plus VPA, and 53 patients received CRT alone. Clinical data were obtained via a database and chart review. Tests for differences in protein expression changes between radiation therapy (RT) with or without VPA were conducted for individual proteins using two-sided t-tests, considering p-values of <0.05 as significant. Adjustment for age, sex, and other clinical covariates and hierarchical clustering of significant differentially expressed proteins was carried out, and Gene Set Enrichment analyses were performed using the Hallmark gene sets. Univariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to test the individual protein expression changes for an association with survival. The lasso Cox regression method and 10-fold cross-validation were employed to test the combinations of expression changes of proteins that could predict survival. Predictiveness curves were plotted for significant proteins for VPA response (p-value < 0.005) to show the survival probability vs. the protein expression percentiles. Results: A total of 124 proteins were identified pre- vs. post-CRT that were differentially expressed between the cohorts who received CRT plus VPA and those who received CRT alone. Clinical factors did not confound the results, and distinct proteomic clustering in the VPA-treated population was identified. Time-dependent ROC curves for OS and PFS for landmark times of 20 months and 6 months, respectively, revealed AUC of 0.531, 0.756, 0.774 for OS and 0.535, 0.723, 0.806 for PFS for protein expression, clinical factors, and the combination of protein expression and clinical factors, respectively, indicating that the proteome can provide additional survival risk discrimination to that already provided by the standard clinical factors with a greater impact on PFS. Several proteins of interest were identified. Alterations in GALNT14 (increased) and CCL17 (decreased) (p = 0.003 and 0.003, respectively, FDR 0.198 for both) were associated with an improvement in both OS and PFS. The pre-CRT protein expression revealed 480 proteins predictive for OS and 212 for PFS (p < 0.05), of which 112 overlapped between OS and PFS. However, FDR-adjusted p values were high, with OS (the smallest p value of 0.586) and PFS (the smallest p value of 0.998). The protein PLCD3 had the lowest p-value (p = 0.002 and 0.0004 for OS and PFS, respectively), and its elevation prior to CRT predicted superior OS and PFS with VPA administration. Cancer hallmark genesets associated with proteomic alteration observed with the administration of VPA aligned with known signal transduction pathways of this agent in malignancy and non-malignancy settings, and GBM signaling, and included epithelial–mesenchymal transition, hedgehog signaling, Il6/JAK/STAT3, coagulation, NOTCH, apical junction, xenobiotic metabolism, and complement signaling. Conclusions: Differential alteration in proteomic expression pre- vs. post-completion of concurrent chemoirradiation (CRT) is present with the addition of VPA. Using pre- vs. post-data, prognostic proteins emerged in the analysis. Using pre-CRT data, potentially predictive proteins were identified. The protein signals and hallmark gene sets associated with the alteration in the proteome identified between patients who received VPA and those who did not, align with known biological mechanisms of action of VPA and may allow for the identification of novel biomarkers associated with outcomes that can help advance the study of VPA in future prospective trials. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 6659 KiB  
Review
Advancements in the Application of Ribosomally Synthesized and Post-Translationally Modified Peptides (RiPPs)
by Sang-Woo Han and Hyung-Sik Won
Biomolecules 2024, 14(4), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom14040479 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1674
Abstract
Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) represent a significant potential for novel therapeutic applications because of their bioactive properties, stability, and specificity. RiPPs are synthesized on ribosomes, followed by intricate post-translational modifications (PTMs), crucial for their diverse structures and functions. PTMs, such [...] Read more.
Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) represent a significant potential for novel therapeutic applications because of their bioactive properties, stability, and specificity. RiPPs are synthesized on ribosomes, followed by intricate post-translational modifications (PTMs), crucial for their diverse structures and functions. PTMs, such as cyclization, methylation, and proteolysis, play crucial roles in enhancing RiPP stability and bioactivity. Advances in synthetic biology and bioinformatics have significantly advanced the field, introducing new methods for RiPP production and engineering. These methods encompass strategies for heterologous expression, genetic refactoring, and exploiting the substrate tolerance of tailoring enzymes to create novel RiPP analogs with improved or entirely new functions. Furthermore, the introduction and implementation of cutting-edge screening methods, including mRNA display, surface display, and two-hybrid systems, have expedited the identification of RiPPs with significant pharmaceutical potential. This comprehensive review not only discusses the current advancements in RiPP research but also the promising opportunities that leveraging these bioactive peptides for therapeutic applications presents, illustrating the synergy between traditional biochemistry and contemporary synthetic biology and genetic engineering approaches. Full article
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29 pages, 3906 KiB  
Review
LL-37: Structures, Antimicrobial Activity, and Influence on Amyloid-Related Diseases
by Surajit Bhattacharjya, Zhizhuo Zhang and Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy
Biomolecules 2024, 14(3), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom14030320 - 8 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), as well as host defense peptides (HDPs), constitute the first line of defense as part of the innate immune system. Humans are known to express antimicrobial precursor proteins, which are further processed to generate AMPs, including several types of α/β [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), as well as host defense peptides (HDPs), constitute the first line of defense as part of the innate immune system. Humans are known to express antimicrobial precursor proteins, which are further processed to generate AMPs, including several types of α/β defensins, histatins, and cathelicidin-derived AMPs like LL37. The broad-spectrum activity of AMPs is crucial to defend against infections caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. The emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria is of global concern for public health. The prospects of targeting antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria with AMPs are of high significance for developing new generations of antimicrobial agents. The 37-residue long LL37, the only cathelicidin family of AMP in humans, has been the major focus for the past few decades of research. The host defense activity of LL37 is likely underscored by its expression throughout the body, spanning from the epithelial cells of various organs—testis, skin, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract—to immune cells. Remarkably, apart from canonical direct killing of pathogenic organisms, LL37 exerts several other host defense activities, including inflammatory response modulation, chemo-attraction, and wound healing and closure at the infected sites. In addition, LL37 and its derived peptides are bestowed with anti-cancer and anti-amyloidogenic properties. In this review article, we aim to develop integrative, mechanistic insight into LL37 and its derived peptides, based on the known biophysical, structural, and functional studies in recent years. We believe that this review will pave the way for future research on the structures, biochemical and biophysical properties, and design of novel LL37-based molecules. Full article
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