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Finding the Binding Site of Luminate®, a Therapeutic Peptide for Retinal Disease



TOPIC: Finding the Binding Site of Luminate®, a Therapeutic Peptide for Retinal Disease 
SPEAKER: Dan Zhou, California Institute of Technology, USA

TIME:June 22 (Wednesday) AM10:00 
LOCATION: Room 528, Chemistry Building A  
INVITER: Prof. Huai Sun ,Prof. Huiming Xiong 

Abstract: Diabetic and age-related retinopathies, both associated with growth of abnormal blood vessels, are leading causes of blindness in the developed world. Current treatments, such as Laser Photocoagulation and anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs, have limited efficacy and undesirable side effects. A recently discovered therapeutic peptide Luminate® (Allegro Ophthalmics, LLC) has proven to be effective in human clinical trials. Over half of the patients in Phase I Human studies demonstrated vision improvement with 4 lines or over, and in some patients, the macular thicknesses was reduced back to the healthy state. It has shown significantly longer lasting benefits than anti-VEGF treatments and shows synergistic effects when used with them. Thus, the peptide appears to act through a different pathway than anti-VEGF agents. Finding that pathway might give new insights into the retinopathies and their managements. Therefore, we are using the peptide as a tool to find the molecular mechanism of its clinically observed therapeutic effects.


The peptide and its scrambled counterparts are used to prepare fluorophore-peptide conjugates and peptide-directed coupling reagents. Results will be presented from in-vitro and ex-vivo experiments to visualize the distribution of Luminate binding using fluorophore-peptide conjugates. Progress toward enrichment of binding using ligand-directed receptor “pull down” will be described. Our goal is to enrich and identify the associated receptors by drug-directed crosslinking and immunopercipitation. If successful, identification of the receptor that binds Luminate could provide further insight into the molecular basis of retinopathies, which could guide novel therapeutic agents to prevent vision loss.


Biography: Dan Zhou  is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry at California Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelor Degree in Chemistry from University of Science and Technology of China in 2013. She is now studying in Prof. Julie Kornfield group on the mechanism of therapeutic peptide drugs for retinal disease treatment.