We report herein that incorporating long-chain alkylphenyl-containing non-proteinogenic amino acids in place of His at the pT-2 position of the parent polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) polo box domain (PBD)-binding pentapeptide, PLHSpT (1a) increases affinity. For certain analogs, approximately two orders-of-magnitude improvement in affinity was observed. Although, none of the new analogs was as potent as our previously described peptide 1b, in which the pT-2 histidine imidazole ring is alkylated at its π nitrogen (N3), our current finding that the isomeric His(N1)-analog (1c) binds with approximately 50-fold less affinity than 1b, indicates the positional importance of attachment to the His imidazole ring. Our demonstration that a range of modified residues at the pT-2 position can enhance binding affinity, should facilitate the development of minimally-sized Plk1 PBD-binding antagonists.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.