Macrocyclic peptide-based inhibition and imaging of hepatocyte growth factor
A short peptide drug that inhibits a growth factor implicated in cancer development has been discovered by researchers in Japan. The molecule could be useful for diagnostic tumour imaging and anti-cancer treatment.
A team co-led by Kanazawa University scientists identified a circular protein, just 12 amino acids around, that selectively binds to the activated form of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and prevents the growth factor from interacting with a cancer-associated protein to make tumours more aggressive.
The researchers showed that this peptide, known as HiP-8, could potently restrict the invasiveness of human cancer cell lines. They also used a fluorescently labelled version of HiP-8 to non-invasively visualize sites of HGF activity in a mouse model of lung cancer.
This kind of diagnostic information will help guide treatment decisions for cancer patients.
- Nature Chemical Biology 15, 598–606 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41589-019-0285-7