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Analysis of protective antigen peptide binding motifs using bacterial display technology

Sarkes, DA;Dorsey, BL;Stratis-Cullum, DN;

In todays fast-paced world, a new biological threat could emerge at any time, necessitating a prompt, reliable, inexpensive detection reagent in each case. Combined with magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS), bacterial display technology makes it possible to isolate selective, high affinity peptide reagents in days to weeks. Utilizing the eCPX display scaffold is also a rapid way to screen potential peptide reagents. Peptide affinity reagents for protective antigen (PA) of the biothreat Bacillus anthracis were previously discovered using bacterial display. Bioinformatics analysis resulted in the consensus sequence WXCFTC. Additionally, we have discovered PA binding peptides with a WW motif, one of which, YGLHPWWKNAPIGQR, can pull down PA from 1% human serum. The strength of these two motifs combined, to obtain a WWCFTC consensus, is assessed here using Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). While monitoring binding to PA, overall expression of the display scaffold was assessed using the YPet Mona expression control tag (YPet), and specificity was assessed by binding to Streptavidin R-Phycoerythrin (SAPE). The importance of high YPet binding is highlighted as many of the peptides in one of the three replicate experiments fell below our 80% binding threshold. We demonstrate that it is preferable to discard this experiment, due to questionable expression of the peptide itself, than to try to normalize for relative expression. The peptides containing the WWCFTC consensus were of higher affinity and greater specificity than the peptides containing the WW consensus alone, validating further investigation to optimize known PA binders. (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.