Efficient Identification of Murine M2 Macrophage Peptide Targeting Ligands by Phage Display and Next-Generation Sequencing.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bioconjugate chemistry (2015)


Peptide ligands are used to increase the specificity of drug carriers to their target cells and to facilitate intracellular delivery. One method to identify such peptide ligands, phage display, enables high-throughput screening of peptide libraries for ligands binding to therapeutic targets of interest. However, conventional methods for identifying target binders in a library by Sanger sequencing are low-throughput, labor-intensive, and provide a limited perspective (<0.01%) of the complete sequence space. Moreover, the small sample space can be dominated by nonspecific, preferentially amplifying "parasitic sequences" and plastic-binding sequences, which may lead to the identification of false positives or exclude the identification of target-binding sequences. To overcome these challenges, we employed next-generation Illumina sequencing to couple high-throughput screening and high-throughput sequencing, enabling more comprehensive access to the phage display library sequence space. In this work, we define the hallmarks of binding sequences in next-generation sequencing data, and develop a method that identifies several target-binding phage clones for murine, alternatively activated M2 macrophages with a high (100%) success rate: sequences and binding motifs were reproducibly present across biological replicates; binding motifs were identified across multiple unique sequences; and an unselected, amplified library accurately filtered out parasitic sequences. In addition, we validate the Multiple Em for Motif Elicitation tool as an efficient and principled means of discovering binding sequences.