Cell Permeable Stapled Peptide Inhibitor of Wnt Signaling that Targets β-Catenin Protein-Protein Interactions

Laura Dietrich, Bernd Rathmer, Kenneth Ewan, Tanja Bange, Stefan Heinrichs, Trevor C. Dale, Dennis Schade, Tom N. Grossmann

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Wnt signaling pathway plays a critical role in cell proliferation and differentiation, thus it is often associated with diseases such as cancers. Unfortunately, although attractive, developing anti-cancer strategy targeting Wnt signaling has been challenging given that the most attractive targets are involved in protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Here, we develop a stapled peptide inhibitor that targets the interaction between β-catenin and T cell factor/lymphoid enhancer-binding factor transcription factors, which are crucially involved in Wnt signaling. Our integrative approach combines peptide stapling to optimize proteolytic stability, with lessons learned from cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) design to maximize cellular uptake resulting in NLS-StAx-h, a selective, cell permeable, stapled peptide inhibitor of oncogenic Wnt signaling that efficiently inhibits β-catenin-transcription factor interactions. We expect that this type of integrative strategy that endows stapled peptides with CPP features will be generally useful for developing inhibitors of intracellular PPIs. Dietrich et al. investigate the cellular uptake of cell-penetrating peptides and stapled peptides. Based on their findings, a poorly permeable stapled peptide is converted into an excellent cell penetrator capable of efficiently inhibiting Wnt signaling. This agent selectively inhibits the growth and migration of Wnt-dependent cancer cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958–968
JournalCell Chemical Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017


  • Wnt signaling
  • cell-penetrating peptides
  • new modalities
  • peptidomimetics
  • protein-protein interaction


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