In silico engineering a CD80 variant with increased affinity to CTLA-4 and decreased affinity to CD28 for optimized cancer immunotherapy.
Hajihassan Z., Afsharian NP., Ansari-Pour N.
CD80 or cluster of differentiation 80, also known as B7-1, is a member of the immunoglobulin super family, which binds to CTLA-4 and CD28 T cell receptors and induces inhibitory and inductive signals respectively. Although CTLA-4 and CD28 receptors belong to the same protein family, slight differences in their structures leads to CD80 having a higher binding affinity to CTLA-4 (-14.55 kcal/mol) compared with CD28(-12.51 kcal/mol). In this study, we constructed a variant of CD80 protein with increased binding affinity to CTLA-4 and decreased binding affinity to CD28. This variant has no signaling capability, and can act as a cap for these receptors to protect them from natural CD80 proteins existing in the body. The first step was the evolutionary and alanine scanning analysis of CD80 protein to determine conserved regions in this protein. Next, complex alanine scanning technique was employed to determine CD80 protein hotspots in CD80-CTLA-4 and CD80-CD28 protein complexes. This information was fed into a computational model developed in R for in silico mutagenesis and CD80 variant library construction. The 3D structures of variants were modeled using the Swiss model webserver. After modeling the 3D structures, HADDOCK server was employed to build all protein-protein complexes, which contain CTLA-4-CD80 variant complexes, Wild type CD80-CD28 complexes and CD28-CD80 variant complexes. Protein-protein binding free energy was determined using FoldX and the variant number 316 with mutations at 29, 31, 33 positions showed increased binding affinity to CTLA-4 (-21.43 kcal/mol) and decreased binding affinity to CD28 (- 9.54 kcal/mol). Finally, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations confirmed the stability of variant 316. In conclusion, we designed a new CD80 protein variant with potential immunotherapeutic applications.