Peptides for targeting βB2-crystallin fibrils
Crystallins are a major family of proteins located within the lens of the eye. Cataracts are thought to be due to the formation of insoluble fibrillar aggregates, which are largely composed of proteins from the crystallin family. Today the only cataract treatment that exists is surgery and this can be difficult to access for individuals in the developing world. Development of novel pharmacotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of cataract rests on the specific targeting of these structures. βB2-crystallin, a member of β-crystallin family, is a large component of the crystallin proteins within the lens, and as such was used to form model fibrils in vitro. Peptides were identified, using phage display techniques, that bound to these fibrils with high affinity. Fibrillation of recombinantly expressed human βB2-crystallin was performed in 10% (v/v) trifluoroethanol (TFE) solution (pH 2.0) at various temperatures, and its amyloid-like structure was confirmed using Thioflavin-T (ThT) assay, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray fiber diffraction (XRFD) analysis. Affinity of identified phage-displayed peptides were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Specific binding of a cyclic peptide (CKQFKDTTC) showed the highest affinity, which was confirmed using a competitive inhibition assay.