Thursday, 04 February 2021 10:34

In vivo phage display: identification of organ-specific peptides using deep sequencing and differential profiling across tissues

Pleiko K, Põšnograjeva K, Haugas M, Paiste P, Tobi A, Kurm K, Riekstina U, Teesalu T. 
Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Jan 14, Online ahead of print. PMID: 33444445.
DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkaa12795. Epub 2020 Oct 20

In vivo phage display is widely used for identification of organ- or disease-specific homing peptides. However, the current in vivo phage biopanning approaches fail to assess biodistribution of specific peptide phages across tissues during the screen, thus necessitating laborious and time-consuming post-screening validation studies on individual peptide phages. Here, we adopted bioinformatics tools used for RNA sequencing for analysis of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data to estimate the representation of individual peptides during biopanning in vivo. The data from in vivo phage screen were analyzed using differential binding-relative representation of each peptide in the target organ versus in a panel of control organs. Application of this approach in a model study using low-diversity peptide T7 phage library with spiked-in brain homing phage demonstrated brain-specific differential binding of brain homing phage and resulted in identification of novel lung- and brain-specific homing peptides. Our study provides a broadly applicable approach to streamline in vivo peptide phage biopanning and to increase its reproducibility and success rate.