Designer peptides show potential for blocking viruses, encourage future study

June 26, 2020

Designer peptides show potential for blocking viruses, e TROY, N.Y. -- Chemically engineered peptides, designed and developed by a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, could prove valuable in the battle against some of the most persistent human health challenges.

The team's findings, recently published in Nature Scientific Reports, demonstrate how researchers can engineer peptides capable of selectively and specifically binding to polysialic acid (PSA) -- a carbohydrate that is present in many human cells and plays a key role in various physiological and pathological processes, including neurological development and disease progression.

This foundational research lays the groundwork for further study into the ability of these peptides to provide an effective vehicle for therapeutics in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer. The team's findings suggest the peptides may also prove valuable in providing a barrier between cells and viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19 - a possibility the research team now hopes to study.

"Because these peptides bind to PSA, they also mask PSA, and could potentially be used to inhibit the binding of viruses and their entry into cells," said Pankaj Karande, an associate professor of chemical engineering, a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), and one of the lead authors on this paper. "The idea is to see if these peptides could inhibit that interaction and therefore inhibit the infectivity of those viruses."

Taking inspiration from nature, Karande said the team modeled its peptides after proteins known as Sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins, or Siglecs, which occur naturally and inherently bind to PSA.

The research laid out in the paper was also led by Divya Shastry, a former doctoral student in biological sciences at Rensselaer. It was completed in collaboration with Robert Linhardt, an endowed professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and Mattheos Koffas, an endowed professor of chemical and biological engineering, both of whom are members of CBIS as well. The Rensselaer team also worked with a team from Syracuse University that used computational modeling to provide the Rensselaer researchers with a molecular-level look at the peptides they designed.

"These significant and promising research advances are a prime example of how a collaborative approach can solve persistent human health challenges," said Deepak Vashishth, the director of CBIS.
-end-
ncourage future study About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and over 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit http://www.rpi.edu.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Related Peptides Articles from Brightsurf:

Peptides+antibiotic combination may result in a more effective treatment for leishmaniasis
A combination of peptides and antibiotics could be key to eliminating the parasite causing leishmaniasis and avoiding the toxicity to people and animals caused by current drugs.

Designer peptides show potential for blocking viruses, encourage future study
Chemically engineered peptides, designed and developed by a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, could prove valuable in the battle against some of the most persistent human health challenges.

Tracking down cryptic peptides
Using a newly developed method, researchers from the University of Würzburg, in cooperation with the University Hospital of Würzburg, were able to identify thousands of special peptides on the surface of cells for the first time.

Synthesis of prebiotic peptides gives clues to the origin of life on Earth
Coordination Compounds Lab of Kazan Federal University started researching prebiotic peptide synthesis in 2013 with the use of the ASIA-330 flow chemistry system.

Peptides that can be taken as a pill
Peptides represent a billion-dollar market in the pharmaceutical industry, but they can generally only be taken as injections to avoid degradation by stomach enzymes.

Harnessing psyllid peptides to fight citrus greening disease
BTI, USDA and UW scientists have identified peptides in the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that spreads the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease (huanglongbing, HLB).

New technique has potential to protect oranges from citrus greening
Citrus greening, also called Huanglongbing (HLB), is devastating the citrus industry.

Researchers show what drives a novel, ordered assembly of alternating peptides
A team of researchers has verified that it is possible to engineer two-layered nanofibers consisting of an ordered row of alternating peptides, and has also determined what makes these peptides automatically assemble into this pattern.

Origin of life insight: peptides can form without amino acids
Peptides, one of the fundamental building blocks of life, can be formed from the primitive precursors of amino acids under conditions similar to those expected on the primordial Earth, finds a new UCL study published in Nature.

Ragon Institute study identifies viral peptides critical to natural HIV control
Investigators at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have used a novel approach to identify specific amino acids in the protein structure of HIV that appear critical to the ability of the virus to function and replicate.

Read More: Peptides News and Peptides Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.