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Positional Scanning Identifies the Molecular Determinants of a High Affinity Multi-Leucine Inhibitor for Furin and PACE4

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journal contribution
posted on 13.03.2017, 00:00 by Izabela Małuch, Christine Levesque, Anna Kwiatkowska, Frédéric Couture, Kévin Ly, Roxane Desjardins, Witold A. Neugebauer, Adam Prahl, Robert Day
The proprotein convertase family of enzymes includes seven endoproteases with significant redundancy in their cleavage activity. We previously described the peptide Ac-LLLLRVK-Amba that displays potent inhibitory effects on both PACE4 and prostate cancer cell lines proliferation. Herein, the molecular determinants for PACE4 and furin inhibition were investigated by positional scanning using peptide libraries that substituted its leucine core with each natural amino acid. We determined that the incorporation of basic amino acids led to analogues with improved inhibitory potency toward both enzymes, whereas negatively charged residues significantly reduced it. All the remaining amino acids were in general well tolerated, with the exemption of the P6 position. However, not all of the potent PACE4 inhibitors displayed antiproliferative activity. The best analogues were obtained by the incorporation of the Ile residue at the P5 and P6 positions. These substitutions led to inhibitors with increased PACE4 selectivity and potent antiproliferative effects.