The lipid phosphatase Ship2 binds the EphA2 receptor through a heterotypic Sam-Sam (Sterile alpha motif) interaction. Inhibitors of the Ship2-Sam/EphA2-Sam complex hold a certain potential as novel anticancer agents. The previously reported “KRI3” peptide binds Ship2-Sam working as a weak antagonist of the EphA2-Sam/Ship2-Sam interaction. Herein, the design and functional evaluation of KRI3 analogues, both linear and cyclic, are described. A multidisciplinary study was conducted through computational docking techniques, and conformational analyses by CD and NMR spectroscopies. The ability of new peptides to bind Ship2-Sam was analysed by NMR, MST and SPR assays. Studies on linear KRI3 analogues pointed out that aromatic interactions through tyrosines are important for the association with Ship2-Sam whereas, an increase of the net positive charge of the sequence or peptide cyclization through a disulfide bridge can favour unspecific interactions without a substantial improvement of the binding affinity to Ship2-Sam. Interestingly, preliminary cell-based assays demonstrated KRI3 cellular uptake even without the conjugation to a cell penetrating sequence with a main cytosolic localization. This work highlights important features of the KRI3 peptide that can be further exploited to design analogues able to hamper Sam-Sam interactions driven by electrostatic contacts.
Targeting Ship2-Sam with peptide ligands: Novel insights from a multidisciplinary approach / Vincenzi, M.; Anna Mercurio, F.; Di Natale, C.; Palumbo, R.; Pirone, L.; La Manna, S.; Marasco, D.; Maria Pedone, E.; Leone, M.. - In: BIOORGANIC CHEMISTRY. - ISSN 0045-2068. - 122:(2022), p. 105680. [10.1016/j.bioorg.2022.105680]