Publications by authors named "Khalid Zoghebi"

5 Publications

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Hybrid Cyclic-Linear Cell-Penetrating Peptides Containing Alternative Positively Charged and Hydrophobic Residues as Molecular Transporters.

Mol Pharm 2021 Sep 7. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

Center for Targeted Drug Delivery, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, Irvine, California 92618, United States.

The cell membrane properties create a significant obstacle in intracellular delivery of cell-impermeable and negatively charged molecules. Herein, we report the synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel series of hybrid cyclic-linear peptides containing alternative positive and hydrophobic amino acids on the ring and side chain [(RW)]K(RW) ( = 1-5) to compare their molecular transporter efficiency. The peptides were synthesized through Fmoc solid-phase peptide synthesis. In vitro cytotoxicity of the peptides showed that the peptides did not exhibit any significant cytotoxicity at the concentration of 10 μM in human leukemia carcinoma cell line (CCRF-CEM), human ovarian adenocarcinoma cells (SK-OV-3), human epithelial embryonic kidney healthy (HEK-293), and human epithelial mammary gland adenocarcinoma cells (MDA-MB-231) after 3 h incubation. The cellular uptake of a fluorescence-labeled phosphopeptide (F'-GpYEEI) and anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs (lamivudine (F'-3TC), emtricitabine (F'-FTC), Stavudine (F'-d4T)), where F' is carboxyfluorescein, was measured in the presence of the peptides in CCRF-CEM and SK-OV-3 cells. Among all peptides, [(RW)K](RW) (10 μM) was the most efficient transporter that improved the cellular uptake of F'-GpYEEI (2 μM) by 18- and 11-fold in CCRF-CEM and SK-OV-3, respectively, compared with F'-GpYEEI alone. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis results indicated that the cellular uptake of fluorescence-labeled peptide (F'-[(RW)K](RW)) was only partially inhibited by chlorpromazine as an endocytosis inhibitor after 3 h incubation in MDA-MB-231 cells. These data suggest the potential of this series of hybrid cyclic-linear peptides as cell-penetrating peptides and molecular transporters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.1c00594DOI Listing
September 2021

Cyclic Peptides as Protein Kinase Inhibitors: Structure-Activity Relationship and Molecular Modeling.

J Chem Inf Model 2021 06 17;61(6):3015-3026. Epub 2021 May 17.

Center for Targeted Drug Delivery, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, Irvine, California 92618, United States.

Under-expression or overexpression of protein kinases has been shown to be associated with unregulated cell signal transduction in cancer cells. Therefore, there is major interest in designing protein kinase inhibitors as anticancer agents. We have previously reported [WR], a peptide containing alternative arginine (R) and tryptophan (W) residues as a non-competitive c-Src tyrosine kinase inhibitor. A number of larger cyclic peptides containing alternative hydrophobic and positively charged residues [WR] ( = 6-9) and hybrid cyclic-linear peptides, [RK]W and [RK]W, containing R and W residues were evaluated for their protein kinase inhibitory potency. Among all the peptides, cyclic peptide [WR] was found to be the most potent tyrosine kinase inhibitor. [WR] showed higher inhibitory activity (IC = 0.21 μM) than [WR], [WR], [WR], and [WR] with IC values of 0.81, 0.57, 0.35, and 0.33 μM, respectively, against c-Src kinase as determined by a radioactive assay using [γ-P]ATP. Consistent with the result above, [WR] inhibited other protein kinases such as Abl kinase activity with an IC value of 0.35 μM, showing 2.2-fold higher inhibition than [WR] (IC = 0.79 μM). [WR] also inhibited PKCa kinase activity with an IC value of 2.86 μM, approximately threefold higher inhibition than [WR] (IC = 8.52 μM). A similar pattern was observed against Braf, c-Src, Cdk2/cyclin A1, and Lck. [WR] exhibited IC values of <0.25 μM against Akt1, Alk, and Btk. These data suggest that [WR] is consistently more potent than other cyclic peptides with a smaller ring size and hybrid cyclic-linear peptides [RK]W and [RK]W against selected protein kinases. Thus, the presence of R and W residues in the ring, ring size, and the number of amino acids in the structure of the cyclic peptide were found to be critical in protein kinase inhibitory potency. We identified three putative binding pockets through automated blind docking of cyclic peptides [WR]. The most populated pocket is located between the SH2, SH3, and N-lobe domains on the opposite side of the ATP binding site. The second putative pocket is formed by the same domains and located on the ATP binding site side of the protein. Finally, a third pocket was identified between the SH2 and SH3 domains. These results are consistent with the non-competitive nature of the inhibition displayed by these molecules. Molecular dynamics simulations of the protein-peptide complexes indicate that the presence of either [WR] or [WR] affects the plasticity of the protein and in particular the volume of the ATP binding site pocket in different ways. These results suggest that the second pocket is most likely the site where these peptides bind and offer a plausible rationale for the increased affinity of [WR].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jcim.1c00320DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8238896PMC
June 2021

Hydrophobic interactions between the HA helix and S4-S5 linker modulate apparent Ca sensitivity of SK2 channels.

Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2021 01 10;231(1):e13552. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Irvine, CA, USA.

Aim: Small-conductance Ca -activated potassium (SK) channels are activated exclusively by increases in intracellular Ca that binds to calmodulin constitutively associated with the channel. Wild-type SK2 channels are activated by Ca with an EC value of ~0.3 μmol/L. Here, we investigate hydrophobic interactions between the HA helix and the S4-S5 linker as a major determinant of channel apparent Ca sensitivity.

Methods: Site-directed mutagenesis, electrophysiological recordings and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations were utilized.

Results: Mutations that decrease hydrophobicity at the HA-S4-S5 interface lead to Ca hyposensitivity of SK2 channels. Mutations that increase hydrophobicity result in hypersensitivity to Ca . The Ca hypersensitivity of the V407F mutant relies on the interaction of the cognate phenylalanine with the S4-S5 linker in the SK2 channel. Replacing the S4-S5 linker of the SK2 channel with the S4-S5 linker of the SK4 channel results in loss of the hypersensitivity caused by V407F. This difference between the S4-S5 linkers of SK2 and SK4 channels can be partially attributed to I295 equivalent to a valine in the SK4 channel. A N293A mutation in the S4-S5 linker also increases hydrophobicity at the HA-S4-S5 interface and elevates the channel apparent Ca sensitivity. The double N293A/V407F mutations generate a highly Ca sensitive channel, with an EC of 0.02 μmol/L. The MD simulations of this double-mutant channel revealed a larger channel cytoplasmic gate.

Conclusion: The electrophysiological data and MD simulations collectively suggest a crucial role of the interactions between the HA helix and S4-S5 linker in the apparent Ca sensitivity of SK2 channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apha.13552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736289PMC
January 2021

Cyclic Peptide-Gadolinium Nanoparticles for Enhanced Intracellular Delivery.

Pharmaceutics 2020 Aug 21;12(9). Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Center for Targeted Drug Delivery, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, Irvine, CA 92618, USA.

A cyclic peptide containing one cysteine and five alternating tryptophan and arginine amino acids [(WR)C] was synthesized using Fmoc/tBu solid-phase methodology. The ability of the synthesized cyclic peptide to produce gadolinium nanoparticles through an in situ one-pot mixing of an aqueous solution of GdCl with [(WR)C] peptide solution was evaluated. Transmission electron microscopy showed the formed peptide-Gd nanoparticles in star-shape morphology with a size of ~250 nm. Flow cytometry investigation showed that the cellular uptake of a cell-impermeable fluorescence-labeled phosphopeptide (F'-GpYEEI, where F' = fluorescein) was approximately six times higher in the presence of [(WR)C]-Gd nanoparticles than those of F'-GpYEEI alone in human leukemia adenocarcinoma (CCRF-CEM) cells after 2 h incubation. The antiproliferative activities of cisplatin and carboplatin (5 µM) were increased in the presence of [(WR)C]-GdNPs (50 μM) by 41% and 18%, respectively, after 72-h incubation in CCRF-CEM cells. The intracellular release of epirubicin, an anticancer drug, from the complex showed that 15% and 60% of the drug was released intracellularly within 12 and 48 h, respectively. This report provides insight about using a non-toxic MRI agent, gadolinium nanoparticles, for the delivery of various types of molecular cargos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics12090792DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7557599PMC
August 2020

Design and Biological Evaluation of Colchicine-CD44-Targeted Peptide Conjugate in an In Vitro Model of Crystal Induced Inflammation.

Molecules 2019 Dec 21;25(1). Epub 2019 Dec 21.

Center for Targeted Drug Delivery, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, Irvine, CA 92618, USA.

Gout is an inflammatory arthritis due to the joint deposition of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals. Phagocytosis of MSU crystals by tissue macrophages results in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Colchicine use in gout is limited by severe toxicity. CD44 is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is highly expressed in tissue macrophages and may be involved in gout pathogenesis. The P6 peptide is a 20-amino acid residue peptide that binds to CD44. We hypothesized that the conjugation of colchicine to the P6 peptide would reduce its off-target cytotoxicity while preserving its anti-inflammatory effect. A modified version of P6 peptide and colchicine-P6 peptide conjugate were synthesized using Fmoc/tBu solid-phase and solution-phase chemistry, respectively. A glutaryl amide was used as a linker. The P6 peptide was evaluated for its binding to CD44, association, and internalization by macrophages. Cytotoxic effects of P6 peptide, colchicine, and colchicine-P6 peptide on macrophages were compared and the inhibition of ROS generation and interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion in MSU-stimulated macrophages treated with P6 peptide, colchicine, or colchicine-P6 peptide was studied. We confirmed that the P6 peptide binds to CD44 and its association and internalization by macrophages were CD44-dependent. Colchicine (1, 10, and 25 μM) demonstrated a significant cytotoxic effect on macrophages while the P6 peptide and colchicine-P6 peptide conjugate (1, 10 and 25 μM) did not alter the viability of the macrophages. The P6 peptide (10 and 25 μM) reduced ROS generation and IL-8 secretion mediated by a reduction in MSU phagocytosis by macrophages. The colchicine-P6 peptide significantly reduced ROS generation and IL-8 secretion compared to the P6 peptide alone at 1 and 10 μM concentrations. Conjugation of colchicine to the P6 peptide reduced the cytotoxic effect of colchicine while preserving its anti-inflammatory activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982808PMC
December 2019
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