Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 16;14(1):5763. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41488-z.
CC and CXC-chemokines are the primary drivers of chemotaxis in inflammation, but chemokine network redundancy thwarts pharmacological intervention. Tick evasins promiscuously bind CC and CXC-chemokines, overcoming redundancy. Here we show that short peptides that promiscuously bind both chemokine classes can be identified from evasins by phage-display screening performed with multiple chemokines in parallel. We identify two conserved motifs within these peptides and show using saturation-mutagenesis phage-display and chemotaxis studies of an exemplar peptide that an anionic patch in the first motif and hydrophobic, aromatic and cysteine residues in the second are functionally necessary. AlphaFold2-Multimer modelling suggests that the peptide occludes distinct receptor-binding regions in CC and in CXC-chemokines, with the first and second motifs contributing ionic and hydrophobic interactions respectively. Our results indicate that peptides with broad-spectrum anti-chemokine activity and therapeutic potential may be identified from evasins, and the pharmacophore characterised by phage display, saturation mutagenesis and computational modelling.