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Long-Acting Human Interleukin 2 Bioconjugate Modified with Fatty Acids by Sortase A

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2021, 15:35 by Mengxin Qian, Qingbin Zhang, Jianguang Lu, Jinhua Zhang, Yapeng Wang, Wenwen Shangguan, Meiqing Feng, Jun Feng
Human Interleukin 2 (IL-2) has already achieved impressive results as a therapeutic agent for cancer and autoimmune diseases. However, one of the limitations associated with the clinical application of IL-2 is its short half-life owing to rapid clearance by the kidneys. Modification with fatty acids, as an albumin noncovalent ligand with the advantage of deep penetration into tissues and high activity-to-mass ratio, is a commonly used approach to improve the half-life of native peptides and proteins. In this investigation, we attempted to extend the half-life of IL-2 through conjugation with a fatty acid using sortase A (srtA). We initially designed and optimized three IL-2 analogues with different peptide linkers between the C-terminus of IL-2 and srtA recognition sequence (LPETG). Among these, analogue A3 was validated as the optimal IL-2 analogue for further modification. Next, six fatty acid moieties with the same fatty acid and different hydrophilic spacers were conjugated to A3 through srtA. The six bioconjugates generated were screened for in vitro biological activity, among which bioconjugate B6 was identified as near-optimal to IL-2. Additionally, B6 could effectively bind albumin through the conjugated fatty acid, which contributed to a significant improvement in its pharmacokinetic properties in vivo. In summary, we have developed a novel IL-2 bioconjugate, B6, modified with fatty acids using srtA, which may effectively serve as a new-generation long-acting IL-2 immunotherapeutic agent.