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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Selection of potent inhibitors of farnesyl-protein transferase from a synthetic tetrapeptide combinatorial library.

Inhibitors of farnesyl-protein transferase (FPTase) show promise as anticancer agents. Based on the sequence of the protein substrates of FPTase (the CAAX sequence), potent and selective peptidomimetic inhibitors have been developed; these compounds share with the peptide substrate a free thiol and a C-terminal carboxylate. We have used a synthetic tetrapeptide combinatorial library to screen for new leads devoid of these features: the peptides were C-terminally amidated, and no free thiol was included in the combinatorial building blocks. To compensate for this negative bias, an expanded set of 68 amino acids was used, including both L and D as well as many non-coded residues. Sixteen individual tetrapeptides derived from the consensus were synthesized and tested; all were active, showing IC50 values ranging from low micromolar to low nanomolar. The most active peptide, D-tryptophan-D-methionine-D-4-chlorophenylalanine-L-gamma- carboxyglutamic acid (Ki = 2 nM), is also very selective showing little inhibitory activity against the related enzyme geranylgeranyl-protein transferase type I (IC50 > 50 microM). In contrast to CAAX-based peptidomimetics, D-tryptophan-D-methionine-D-4-chlorophenylalanine-L-gamma-carboxyglut amic acid appeared to mimic the isoprenoid substrate farnesyl diphosphate as determined by kinetic and physical measurements. D-Tryptophan-Dmethionine-D-4-chlorophenylalanine-L-gamma- carboxyglutamic acid was a competitive inhibitor of FPTase with respect to farnesyl diphosphate substrate and uncompetitive with respect to CAAX substrate. Furthermore, we demonstrated that FPTase undergoes ligand dependent conformational changes in its circular dichroism spectrum and that D-tryptophan-D-methionine-D-4-chlorophenylalanine-L-gamma- carboxyglutamic acid induced a conformational change identical to that observed with farnesyl diphosphate ligand.[1]


  1. Selection of potent inhibitors of farnesyl-protein transferase from a synthetic tetrapeptide combinatorial library. Wallace, A., Koblan, K.S., Hamilton, K., Marquis-Omer, D.J., Miller, P.J., Mosser, S.D., Omer, C.A., Schaber, M.D., Cortese, R., Oliff, A., Gibbs, J.B., Pessi, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1996) [Pubmed]
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