By Demartis Anna; Tomei Licia; Beghetto Elisa; Di Biasio Valentina; Orvieto Federica; Frattolillo Francesco; Bianchi Elisabetta; Lahm Armin; Pessi Antonello; Carrington Paul E; et al
From Scientific reports (2018), 8(1), 585, Language: English, Database: MEDLINE
A promising emerging area for the treatment of obesity and diabetes is combinatorial hormone therapy, where single-molecule peptides are rationally designed to integrate the complementary actions of multiple endogenous metabolically-related hormones. We describe here a proof-of-concept study on developing unimolecular polypharmacy agents through the use of selection methods based on phage-displayed peptide libraries (PDL). Co-agonists of the glucagon (GCG) and GLP-1 receptors were identified from a PDL sequentially selected on GCGR- and GLP1R-overexpressing cells. After two or three rounds of selection, 7.5% of randomly picked clones were GLP1R/GCGR co-agonists, and a further 1.53% were agonists of a single receptor. The phages were sequenced and 35 corresponding peptides were synthesized. 18 peptides were potent co-agonists, 8 of whom showed EC50 ≤ 30 pM on each receptor, comparable to the best rationally designed co-agonists reported in the literature. Based on literature examples, two sequences were engineered to stabilize against dipeptidyl peptidase IV cleavage and prolong the in vivo half-life: the engineered peptides were comparably potent to the parent peptides on both receptors, highlighting the potential use of phage-derived peptides as therapeutic agents. The strategy described here appears of general value for the discovery of optimized polypharmacology paradigms across several metabolically-related hormones.