New Compstatin Peptides Containing N-Terminal Extensions and Non-Natural Amino Acids Exhibit Potent Complement Inhibition and Improved Solubility Characteristics Academic Article uri icon


  • Compstatin peptides are complement inhibitors that bind and inhibit cleavage of complement C3. Peptide binding is enhanced by hydrophobic interactions; however, poor solubility promotes aggregation in aqueous environments. We have designed new compstatin peptides derived from the W4A9 sequence (Ac-ICVWQDWGAHRCT-NH2, cyclized between C2 and C12), based on structural, computational, and experimental studies. Furthermore, we developed and utilized a computational framework for the design of peptides containing non-natural amino acids. These new compstatin peptides contain polar N-terminal extensions and non-natural amino acid substitutions at positions 4 and 9. Peptides with α-modified non-natural alanine analogs at position 9, as well as peptides containing only N-terminal polar extensions, exhibited similar activity compared to W4A9, as quantified via ELISA, hemolytic, and cell-based assays, and showed improved solubility, as measured by UV absorbance and reverse-phase HPLC experiments. Because of their potency and solubility, these peptides are promising candidates for therapeutic development in numerous complement-mediated diseases.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gorham, R. D., Forest, D. L., Khoury, G. A., Smadbeck, J., Beecher, C. N., Healy, E. D., ... Morikis, D.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014 11:11 AM