In vivo phage display is widely used for identification of organ- or disease-specific homing peptides. However, the current in vivo phage biopanning approaches fail to assess biodistribution of specific peptide phages across tissues during the screen, thus necessitating laborious and time-consuming post-screening validation studies on individual peptide phages. Here, we adopted bioinformatics tools used for RNA sequencing for analysis of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data to estimate the representation of individual peptides during biopanning in vivo. The data from in vivo phage screen were analyzed using differential binding-relative representation of each peptide in the target organ versus in a panel of control organs. Application of this approach in a model study using low-diversity peptide T7 phage library with spiked-in brain homing phage demonstrated brain-specific differential binding of brain homing phage and resulted in identification of novel lung- and brain-specific homing peptides. Our study provides a broadly applicable approach to streamline in vivo peptide phage biopanning and to increase its reproducibility and success rate.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.