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F1000Research, Gates Open Research, (2), p. 13, 2018

DOI: 10.12688/gatesopenres.12799.2



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A sulfur-free peptide mimic of surfactant protein B (B-YL) exhibits high in vitro and in vivo surface activities

Journal article published in 2018 by Frans J. Walther ORCID, Monik Gupta ORCID, Larry M. Gordon, Alan J. Waring
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Background: Animal-derived surfactants containing surfactant proteins B (SP-B) and C (SP-C) are used to treat respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in preterm infants. SP-B (79 residues) plays a pivotal role in lung function and the design of synthetic lung surfactant. Super Mini-B (SMB), a 41-residue peptide based on the N- and C-domains of SP-B covalently joined with a turn and two disulfides, folds as an α-helix hairpin mimicking the properties of these domains in SP-B. Here, we studied ‘B-YL’, a 41-residue SMB variant that has its four cysteine and two methionine residues replaced by tyrosine and leucine, respectively, to test whether these hydrophobic substitutions produce a surface-active, α-helix hairpin.Methods:Structure and function of B-YL and SMB in surfactant lipids were compared with CD and FTIR spectroscopy, and surface activity with captive bubble surfactometry and in lavaged, surfactant-deficient adult rabbits.Results:CD and FTIR spectroscopy of B-YL in surfactant lipids showed secondary structures compatible with peptide folding as an α-helix hairpin, similar to SMB in lipids. B-YL in surfactant lipids demonstrated excellentin vitrosurface activity and good oxygenation and dynamic compliance in lavaged, surfactant-deficient adult rabbits, suggesting that the four tyrosine substitutions are an effective replacement for the disulfide-reinforced helix-turn of SMB. Here, the B-YL fold may be stabilized by a core of clustered tyrosines linking the N- and C-helices through non-covalent interactions involving aromatic rings.Conclusions:‘Sulfur-free’ B-YL forms an amphipathic helix-hairpin in surfactant liposomes with high surface activity and is functionally similar to SMB and native SP-B. The removal of the cysteines makes B-YL more feasible to scale up production for clinical application. B-YL’s possible resistance against free oxygen radical damage to methionines by substitutions with leucine provides an extra edge over SMB in the treatment of respiratory failure in preterm infants with RDS.