A set of conformationally well-defined L/D-peptide epitopes provides a serological bar code for autoantibody subtypes
Andreas Schrimpf, Dörte Brödje, Petra Pfefferle, Armin Geyer
Which conformational parameters lead to an antibody-affine peptide antigen? And in how many different conformations can we actually present the respective conformational epitope? To provide answers from a chemical point of view, we direct the bending and tethering of peptide backbones by the utilisation of a hydrophobic cluster, disulfides, and d-amino acids. Each mutation is employed pairwise on directly opposite sides of a β-hairpin. In combination, these synthetic modules guide the formation of complementary β-sheet-like structures, whereby the oppositely configured (l/d-)bi-disulfide pairs form with high regioselectivity. The conformational properties of the peptides are assessed by NMR spectroscopy and correlated with their antibody affinity in ELISA. From a pool of thus designed peptide antigens with distinctive complementary affinities against known rheumatoid arthritis (RA) autoantibodies, we select a set of epitopes for an immunoassay with sera of RA patients. We want to put emphasis on the idea, that the different conformational properties of the chosen antigens, containing the same epitope sequence, are mirrored in the distribution of autoantibody subtypes (or of the antibody polyclonality, respectively). Such directly comparable information can only be delivered by a set of peptides, rather than a single one. The hairpin-restriction technology of l/d-configured bi-disulfide amino acid pairs is not limited to RA but applicable to other shape-persistent hairpin motifs which are supposed to identify subgroups of protein receptors.
Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, Biochemistry