Constrained, membrane-permeable peptides offer the possibility of engaging challenging intracellular targets. Structure-permeability relationships have been extensively studied in cyclic peptides whose backbones are cyclized from head to tail, like the membrane permeable and orally bioavailable natural product cyclosporine A.
In contrast, the physicochemical properties of lariat peptides, which are cyclized from one of the termini onto a side chain, have received little attention. Many lariat peptide natural products exhibit interesting biological activities, and some, such as griselimycin and didemnin B, are membrane permeable and have intracellular targets.
To investigate the structure-permeability relationships in the chemical space exemplified by these natural products, researchers in the Lokey Lab generated a library of scaffolds using stable isotopes to encode stereochemistry and determined the passive membrane permeability of over 1000 novel lariat peptide scaffolds with molecular weights around 1000. Many lariats were surprisingly permeable, comparable to many known orally bioavailable drugs. Passive permeability was strongly dependent on N-methylation, stereochemistry, and ring topology.
A variety of structure-permeability trends were observed including a relationship between alternating stereochemistry and high permeability, as well as a set of highly permeable consensus sequences. For the first time, robust structure-permeability relationships are established in synthetic lariat peptides exceeding 1000 compounds.
Geometrically Diverse Lariat Peptide Scaffolds Reveal an Untapped Chemical Space of High Membrane Permeability
Colin N. Kelly, Chad E. Townsend, Ajay N. Jain, Matthew R. Naylor, Cameron R. Pye, Joshua Schwochert, and R. Scott Lokey
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.0c06115