Rational Design of Novel Glycomimetic Peptides for E-Selectin Targeting

Veronica A. Jimenez, Karen R. Navarrete, Mario Duque-Norena, Kelly P. Marrugo, Maria A. Contreras, Cristian H. Campos, Joel B. Alderete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


E-selectin is a cell-adhesion receptor with specific recognition capacity toward sialo-fucosylated Lewis carbohydrates present in leukocytes and tumor cells. E-selectin interactions mediate the progress of inflammatory processes and tumor metastasis, which aroused the interest in using this protein as a biomolecular target to design glycomimetic inhibitors for active targeting or therapeutic purposes. In this work, we report the rational discovery of two novel glycomimetic peptides targeting E-selectin based on mutations of the reference selectin-binding peptide IELLQAR. Sixteen single or double mutants at Ile1, Leu3, Leu4, and Arg7 residues were evaluated as potential candidates for E-selectin targeting using 50 ns molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Nine peptides showing a stable association with the functional pocket were modified by adding a cysteine residue to the N-terminus to confer versatility for further chemical conjugation. Subsequent 50 ns MD simulations resulted in five cysteine-modified peptides with retained or improved E-selectin binding potential. Then, 300 ns accelerated MD (aMD) simulations were used to examine the binding properties of the best five cysteine-modified peptides. CIEELQAR and CIELFQAR exhibit the most selective association with the functional pocket of E-selectin, as revealed by potential of mean force profiles. Microscale thermophoresis experiments confirmed the E-selectin binding capacity of the selected peptides with KD values in the low micromolar range (CIEELQAR KD = 35.0 ± 1.4 μM; CIELFQAR KD = 16.4 ± 0.7 μM), which are 25-fold lower than the reported value for the native ligand sLex (KD = 878 μM). Our findings support the potential of CIEELQAR and CIELFQAR as novel E-selectin-targeting peptides with high recognition capacity and versatility for chemical conjugation, which are critical for enabling future applications in active targeting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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