Lupin Peptide T9 (GQEQSHQDEGVIVR) Modulates the Mutant PCSK9 D374Y Pathway: in vitro Characterization of its Dual Hypocholesterolemic Behavior

Nutrients. 2019 Jul 20;11(7):1665. doi: 10.3390/nu11071665.


GQEQSHQDEGVIVR (T9) is a peptide originated by the tryptic digestion of lupin β-conglutin that is absorbed in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. A previous study has shown that T9 impairs the protein-protein interaction between mutant D374Y Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin 9 (PCSK9D374Y) and the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), thus exerting a hypocholesterolemic effect. Moreover, a bioinformatic study predicting that T9 may potentially act as an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMGCoAR), has suggested a complementary cholesterol-lowering activity. The present study demonstrates that T9 inhibits in vitro the HMGCoAR functionality with an IC50 value of 99.5 ± 0.56 µM. Through the inhibition of either HMGCoAR or PCSK9D374Y activities, T9 enhances the LDLR protein levels leading to an improved ability of HepG2 cells transfected with the mutant PCSK9D374Y-FLAG plasmid to uptake extracellular LDL with a final cholesterol-lowering effect. In addition, T9 modulates the PCSK9D374Y signaling pathway in transfected HepG2 cells leading to a decrease of PCSK9D374Y and HNF-1α protein levels. All these results indicate that the hypocholesterolemic effects of T9 are due to a dual mechanism of action involving either the modulation of the PCSK9D374Y or LDLR pathways. This may represent an added value from a therapeutic point of view.

Keywords: HepG2; LDLR; PCSK9; bioactive peptides; lupin.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Mutation
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / genetics
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / metabolism*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Peptides
  • PCSK9 protein, human
  • Proprotein Convertase 9