Strategic Decoy Peptides Interfere with MSI1/AGO2 Interaction to Elicit Tumor Suppression Effects

Yi Ping Yang, Andy Chi Lung Lee, Liang Ting Lin, Yi Wei Chen, Pin I. Huang, Hsin I. Ma, Yi Chen Chen, Wen Liang Lo, Yuan Tzu Lan, Wen Liang Fang, Chien Ying Wang, Yung Yang Liu, Po Kuei Hsu, Wen Chang Lin, Chung Pin Li, Ming Teh Chen, Chian Shiu Chien*, Mong Lien Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peptide drugs that target protein–protein interactions have attracted mounting research efforts towards clinical developments over the past decades. Increasing reports have indicated that expression of Musashi 1 (MSI1) is tightly correlated to high grade of cancers as well as enrichment of cancer stem cells. Treatment failure in malignant tumors glioblastoma multiform (GBM) had also been correlated to CSC-regulating properties of MSI1. It is thus imperative to develop new therapeutics that could effectively improve current regimens used in clinics. MSI1 and AGO2 are two emerging oncogenic molecules that both contribute to GBM tumorigenesis through mRNA regulation of targets involved in apoptosis and cell cycle. In this study, we designed peptide arrays covering the C-terminus of MSI1 and identified two peptides (Pep#11 and Pep#26) that could specifically interfere with the binding with AGO2. Our Biacore analyses ascertained binding between the identified peptides and AGO2. Recombinant reporter system Gaussian luciferase and fluorescent bioconjugate techniques were employed to determine biological functions and pharmacokinetic characteristics of these two peptides. Our data suggested that Pep#11 and Pep#26 could function as decoy peptides by mimicking the interaction function of MSI1 with its binding partner AGO2 in vitro and in vivo. Further experiments using GMB animal models corroborated the ability of Pep#11 and Pep#26 in disrupting MSI1/AGO2 interaction and consequently anti-tumorigenicity and prolonged survival rates. These striking therapeutic efficacies orchestrated by the synthetic peptides were attributed to the decoy function to C-terminal MSI1, especially in malignant brain tumors and glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number505
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Decoy peptide
  • MSI1 C-terminus
  • MSI1/AGO2 disruption
  • Protein–protein interaction
  • Tumor suppression


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