• Identification of high-affinity PB1-derived peptides with enhanced affinity to the PA protein of influenza A virus polymerase.

      Wunderlich, Kerstin; Juozapaitis, Mindaugas; Ranadheera, Charlene; Kessler, Ulrich; Martin, Arnold; Eisel, Jessica; Beutling, Ulrike; Frank, Ronald; Schwemmle, Martin; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02)
      The influenza A virus polymerase complex, consisting of the subunits PB1, PB2, and PA, represents a promising target for the development of new antiviral drugs. We have previously demonstrated the feasibility of targeting the protein-protein interaction domain between PA and PB1 using peptides derived from the extreme N terminus of PB1 (amino acids [aa] 1 to 15), comprising the PA-binding domain of PB1. To increase the binding affinity of these peptides, we performed a systematic structure-affinity relationship analysis. Alanine and aspartic acid scans revealed that almost all amino acids in the core binding region (aa 5 to 11) are indispensable for PA binding. Using a library of immobilized peptides representing all possible single amino acid substitutions, we were able to identify amino acid positions outside the core PA-binding region (aa 1, 3, 12, 14, and 15) that are variable and can be replaced by affinity-enhancing residues. Surface plasmon resonance binding studies revealed that combination of several affinity-enhancing mutations led to an additive effect. Thus, the feasibility to enhance the PA-binding affinity presents an intriguing possibility to increase antiviral activity of the PB1-derived peptide and one step forward in the development of an antiviral drug against influenza A viruses.