We have validated that ligand peptides designed from antigen peptides could be used for targeting specific major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules on the cell surface. To design the ligand peptides, we used reported antigen peptides for each MHC-I molecule with high binding affinity. From the crystal structure of the peptide/MHC-I complexes, we determined a modifiable residue in the antigen peptides and replaced this residue with a lysine with an ϵ-amine group modified with functional molecules. The designed ligand peptides successfully bound to cells expressing the corresponding MHC-I molecules via exchange of peptides bound to MHC-I. We demonstrated that the peptide ligands could be used to transport a protein or a liposome to cells expressing the corresponding MHC-I. This strategy may be useful for targeted delivery to cells overexpressing MHC-I, which have been observed in autoimmune diseases.
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