Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a unique peptide that induces cell differentiation by inhibiting cellular protein CHD4, a promising approach to target dedifferentiated cancer cells and for cell therapy.
This technology introduces a peptide derived from the KSHV LANA (latency associate nuclear antigen), a herpesviral protein, that interacts with cellular protein CHD4. The herpesviral protein utilizes cellular CHD4 to silence host gene transcription. The CHD4 is an essential protein for preventing undergoing cell differentiation in physiological cellular conditions. The viral peptides bind to and induce CHD4 degradation, therefore inducing cell differentiation. This peptide provides a potentially novel approach to regulating cellular protein functions, which can help control cell apoptosis, cell cycle progression, and cell identities. This peptide is the first of its kind, as there is currently no CHD4 inhibitor in the market. The technology would also address the current inefficiency and heterogeneity in reprogramming cells for treatment. The application of peptides and then inducing cell differentiation stimuli substantially enhances terminally differentiated cells in vitro. In addition, with xenograft studies, the peptide treatment significantly slows cancer cell growth.
cell differentiation, CHD4, small peptide, cell therapy, cancer therapeutics