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Structure-Based Identification and Design of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme-Inhibitory Peptides from Whey Proteins

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posted on 02.01.2020, 17:37 by Anna Rita Tondo, Leonardo Caputo, Giuseppe Felice Mangiatordi, Linda Monaci, Giovanni Lentini, Antonio Francesco Logrieco, Michele Montaruli, Orazio Nicolotti, Laura Quintieri
Besides their nutritional value, whey protein (WP) peptides are food components retaining important pharmacological properties for controlling hypertension. We herein report how the use of complementary experimental and theoretical investigations allowed the identification of novel angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory (ACEI) peptides obtained from a WP hydrolysate and addressed the rational design of even shorter sequences based on molecular pruning. Thus, after bromelain digestion followed by a 5 kDa cutoff ultrafiltration, WP hydrolysate with ACEI activity was fractioned by RP-HPLC; 2 out of 23 collected fractions retained ACEI activity and were analyzed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). In the face of 128 identified peptides, molecular docking was carried out to prioritize peptides and to rationally guide the design of novel shorter and bioactive sequences. Therefore, 11 peptides, consisting of 3–6 amino acids and with molecular weights in the range from 399 to 674 Da, were rationally designed and then purchased to determine the IC50 value. This approach allowed the identification of two novel peptides: MHI and IAEK with IC50 ACEI values equal to 11.59 and 25.08 μM, respectively. Interestingly, we also confirmed the well-known ACEI IPAVF with an IC50 equal to 9.09 μM. In light of these results, this integrated approach could pave the way for high-throughput screening and identification of new peptides in dairy products. In addition, the herein proposed ACEI peptides could be exploited for novel applications both for food production and pharmaceuticals.