An in-tether chiral center modulates the proapoptotic activity of the KLA peptide†
The helical peptide KLA (KLAKLAKKLAKLAK) is a well-known inducer of cellular apoptosis, acting to disrupt the mitochondrial membrane. However, its weak cellular uptake impedes development of any further applications. Here, we have utilized a novel in-tether chiral center induced helicity strategy (CIH) to develop a potent apoptosis inducer based on this KLA sequence. Notably, for the two resulting epimers of the CIH-KLA peptide, the CIH-KLA-(R) epimer exhibited superior cellular uptakes and special mitochondrial targeting when compared with its S counterpart. This work provides a promising and versatile method to modify the KLA peptide and a proof-of-concept application for the CIH strategy in modifying bioactive peptides.