J Phys Chem B. 2019 Nov 6. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.9b08514. [Epub ahead of print]
The most common obstacles to the development of therapeutic polypeptides are peptide stability and aggregation. Human calcitonin (hCT) is a 32-residue hormone polypeptide secreted from the C-cells of the thyroid gland and is responsible for calcium and phosphate regulation in the blood. hCT reduces calcium levels by inhibiting the activity of osteoclasts, which are bone cells that are mainly responsible for breaking down bone tissue or decreasing the resorption of calcium from the kidneys. Thus, calcitonin injection has been used to treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease of bone. hCT is an aggregation-prone peptide with a high tendency to form amyloid fibrils. As a result, salmon calcitonin (sCT), which has differs from hCT at 16 residue positions and has a lower propensity to aggregate, has been chosen as a clinical substitute for hCT. However, significant side effects, including immune reactions, have been shown with the use of sCT injection. In this study, we found that two residues, Tyr-12 and Asn-17, play key roles in inducing the fibrillization of hCT. Double mutation of hCT at these two crucial sites could greatly enhance its resistance to aggregation and provide a peptide-based inhibitor to prevent amyloid formation by hCT. Double-mutated hCT retains its ability to interact with its receptor in vivo. These findings suggest that this variant of hCT would serve as a valuable therapeutic alternative to sCT.