Total chemical synthesis of human interferon alpha-2b via native chemical ligation

Jing Li, Clara Lehmann, Xishan Chen, Fabio Romerio, Wuyuan Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interferon-alpha (IFNα) is a cytokine that orchestrates innate and adaptive immune responses and potently inhibits proliferation of normal and tumor cells. These properties have warranted the use of IFNα in clinical practice for the treatment of several viral infections and malignancies. However, overexpression of IFNα leads to immunopathology observed in the context of chronic viral infections and autoimmune conditions. Thus, it is desirable to develop therapeutic approaches that aim at suppressing excessive IFNα production. To that end, artificial evolution of peptides from phage display libraries represents a strategy that seeks to disrupt the interaction between IFNα and its cell surface receptor and thus inhibit the ensuing biological effects. Mirror-image phage display that screens peptide libraries against the D-enantiomer is particularly attractive because it allows for identification of proteolysis-resistant D-peptide inhibitors. This approach, however, relies on the availability of chemically synthesized D-IFNα composed entirely of D-amino acids. Here, we describe the synthesis and biological properties of IFNα2b of 165 amino acid residues produced by native chemical ligation, which represents an important first step toward the discovery of D-peptide antagonists with potential therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-560
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Peptide Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • interferon
  • native chemical ligation
  • peptide synthesis
  • synthetic protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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