Development of cyclic peptides with potent in vivo osteogenic activity through RaPID-based affinity maturation

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 8;117(49):31070-31077. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2012266117. Epub 2020 Nov 23.


Osteoporosis is caused by a disequilibrium between bone resorption and bone formation. Therapeutics for osteoporosis can be divided into antiresorptives that suppress bone resorption and anabolics which increase bone formation. Currently, the only anabolic treatment options are parathyroid hormone mimetics or an anti-sclerostin monoclonal antibody. With the current global increases in demographics at risk for osteoporosis, development of therapeutics that elicit anabolic activity through alternative mechanisms is imperative. Blockade of the PlexinB1 and Semaphorin4D interaction on osteoblasts has been shown to be a promising mechanism to increase bone formation. Here we report the discovery of cyclic peptides by a novel RaPID (Random nonstandard Peptides Integrated Discovery) system-based affinity maturation methodology that generated the peptide PB1m6A9 which binds with high affinity to both human and mouse PlexinB1. The chemically dimerized peptide, PB1d6A9, showed potent inhibition of PlexinB1 signaling in mouse primary osteoblast cultures, resulting in significant enhancement of bone formation even compared to non-Semaphorin4D-treated controls. This high anabolic activity was also observed in vivo when the lipidated PB1d6A9 (PB1d6A9-Pal) was intravenously administered once weekly to ovariectomized mice, leading to complete rescue of bone loss. The potent osteogenic properties of this peptide shows great promise as an addition to the current anabolic treatment options for bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Keywords: PlexinB1; cyclic peptides; in vitro selection; osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Peptide Library
  • Peptides, Cyclic / chemistry
  • Peptides, Cyclic / pharmacology*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Peptide Library
  • Peptides, Cyclic