Peptide-based LDH5 inhibitors enter cancer cells and impair proliferation

Ferran Nadal-Bufi, Lai Chan, Hadi Mohammad, Jody Mason, Carlos Salomon, Andrew Lai, Eric Thompson, David Craik, Quentin Kaas, Sónia Henriques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lactate dehydrogenase 5 (LDH5) is overexpressed in many cancers and is a potential target for anticancer therapy due to its role in aerobic glycolysis. Small-molecule drugs have been developed as competitive inhibitors to bind substrate/cofactor sites of LDH5, but none reached the clinic to date. Recently, we designed the first LDH5 non-competitive inhibitor, cGmC9, a peptide that inhibits protein-protein interactions required for LDH5 enzymatic activity. Peptides are gaining a large interest as anticancer agents to modulate intracellular protein-protein interactions not targetable by small molecules, however delivery of these peptides to the cytosol, where LDH5 and other anticancer targets are located, remains a challenge for this class of therapeutics. In this study, we focused on the cellular internalisation of cGmC9 to achieve LDH5 inhibition in the cytosol. We designed cGmC9 analogues and compared them for LDH5 inhibition, cellular uptake, toxicity, and antiproliferation against a panel of cancer cell lines. The lead analogue, [R/r]cGmC9, specifically impairs proliferation of cancer cell lines with high glycolytic profiles. Proteomics analysis showed expected metabolic changes in response to decreased glycolysis. This is the first report of a peptide-based LDH5 inhibitor able to modulate cancer metabolism and kill cancer cells that are glycolytic. The current study demonstrates the potential of using peptides as inhibitors of intracellular protein-protein interactions relevant for cancer pathways and shows that active peptides can be rationally designed to improve their cell permeation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS)
Publication statusAcceptance date - 15 Nov 2022

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