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High-affinity recognition of the human C-reactive protein independent of phosphocholine

Journal article
Authors J. Yang
A. L. Gustavsson
M. Haraldsson
B Göran Karlsson
T. Norberg
L. Baltzer
Published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
Volume 15
Issue 21
Pages 4644-4654
ISSN 1477-0520
Publication year 2017
Published at Swedish NMR Centre at Göteborg University
Pages 4644-4654
Language en
Keywords binding, Chemistry
Subject categories Organic Chemistry


A high-affinity polypeptide conjugate 4-C25L22-DQ, has been developed for the molecular recognition of the human C-reactive protein, CRP, a well-known inflammation biomarker. CRP is one of the most frequently quantified targets in diagnostic applications and a target in drug development. With the exception of antibodies, most molecular constructs take advantage of the known affinity for CRP of phosphocholine that depends on Ca2+ for its ability to bind. 4-C25L22-DQ which is unrelated to phosphocholine binds in the absence of Ca2+ with a dissociation constant of 760 nM, an order of magnitude lower than that of phosphocholine, the KD of which is 5 mu M. The small organic molecule 2-oxo-1,2-dihydroquinoline-8-carboxylic acid (DQ) was designed based on the structural similarities between three hits from a set of compounds selected from a building block collection and evaluated with regards to affinity for CRP by NMR spectroscopy. 4-C25L22-DQ was shown in a competition experiment to bind CRP three orders of magnitude more strongly than DQ itself, and in a pull-down experiment 4-C25L22-DQ was shown to extract CRP from human serum. The development of a robust and phosphocholine-independent recognition element provides unprecedented opportunities in bioanalytical applications in vivo and in vitro under conditions where the concentration of Ca2+ ions is low, or where Ca2+ binding agents such as EDTA or heparin are needed to prevent blood coagulation. The identification from a compound library of a small organic molecule and its conjugation to a small set of polypeptides, none of which were previously known to bind CRP, illustrates a convenient and general route to selective high-affinity binders for proteins with dissociation constants in the mu M to nM range for which no small molecule ligands are known.

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