Unbiased peptoid cell screen identifies a peptoid targeting newly appeared cell surface vimentin on tumor transformed early lung cancer cells

Satya Prakash Shukla, Haowen Zhang, Bingliang Fang, John D. Minna, D. Gomika Udugamasooriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To identify potential new reagents and biomarkers for early lung cancer detection we combined the use of a novel preclinical isogenic model of human lung epithelial cells comparing non-malignant cells with those transformed to full malignancy using defined oncogenic changes and our on-bead two color (red and green stained cells) (OBTC) peptoid combinatorial screening methodology. The preclinical model used normal parent lung epithelial cells (HBEC3-KT, labeled with green dye) and isogenic fully malignant transformed derivatives (labeled with a red dye) via the sequential introduction of key genetic alterations of p53 knockdown, oncogenic KRAS and overexpression of cMYC (HBEC3p53, KRAS, cMYC). Using the unbiased OBTC screening approach, we tested 100,000 different peptoids and identified only one (named JM3A) that bound to the surface of the HBEC3p53, KRAS, cMYC cells (red cells) but not HBEC3-KT cells (green cells). Using the JM3A peptoid and proteomics, we identified the protein bound as vimentin using multiple validation approaches. These all confirmed the cell surface expression of vimentin (CSV) on transformed (HBEC3p53, KRAS, cMYC) but not on untransformed (HBEC3-KT) cells. JM3A coupled with fluorophores was able to detect and stain cell surface vimentin on very early stage lung cancers but not normal lung epithelial cells in a fashion comparable to that using anti-vimentin antibodies. We conclude: using a combined isogenic preclinical model of lung cancer and two color screening of a large peptoid library, we have identified differential expression of cell surface vimentin (CSV) after malignant transformation of lung epithelial cells, and developed a new peptoid reagent (JM3A) for detection of CSV which works well in staining of early stage NSCLCs. This new, highly specific, easy to prepare, CSV detecting JM3A peptoid provides an important new reagent for identifying cancer cells in early stage tumors as well as a resource for detection and isolating of CSV expressing circulating tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116673
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022


  • Early cancer detection
  • Early cancer-markers
  • Peptoid
  • Vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Unbiased peptoid cell screen identifies a peptoid targeting newly appeared cell surface vimentin on tumor transformed early lung cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this