Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a critical immune checkpoint ligand whose overexpression on tumor cells provides a mechanism of escape from immune surveillance. The interaction between PD-L1 and PD-1 on T cell lymphocytes suppresses both T cell activation and effector function and is engaged by cancers to dampen antitumor immunity. Here, we used mRNA display to engineer an 18-residue linear peptide that binds to human PD-L1. This peptide, which we term SPAM (signal peptide-based affinity maturated ligand), is nonhomologous to known PD-L1 binding peptides and mAbs, with dissociation constants (KD) of 119 and 67 nM for unglycosylated and glycosylated human PD-L1, respectively. The SPAM peptide is highly selective for human PD-L1 and shows no significant binding to either mouse PD-L1 or human PD-L2. Competition binding assays indicate that the SPAM peptide binding site overlaps with the binding site of PD-1 as well as therapeutic anti-PD-L1 antibodies. Taken together, these results suggest that the SPAM peptide specifically binds to human PD-L1 and could potentially serve as a PD-L1 affinity agent and PD-L1/PD-1 pathway modulator.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine