A HA2-Fusion tag limits the endosomal release of its protein cargo despite causing endosomal lysis.
ABSTRACT: Protein transduction domains (PTDs) can be fused to a protein to render it cell-permeable. The delivery efficiencies of PTDs are, however, often poor because PTD-protein conjugates cannot escape from endosomes. A potential solution to this problem consists in adding HA2 analogs to the PTD-protein construct as these peptides can cause endosomal lysis upon acidification of the endosomal lumen. To date, however, the utility of HA2-based PTDs has not been clearly established.We investigate the biophysical and cellular properties of the glutamate-rich HA2 analog E5 fused to the model protein TAT-mCherry.E5-TAT-mCherry causes the release of fluorescent dextrans trapped with the protein inside endosomes. Yet, E5-TAT-mCherry itself is not released in the cytosol of cells, indicating that the protein remained trapped inside endosomes even after endosomal lysis takes place. Cytosolic delivery of the protein could be achieved, however, by insertion of a disulfide bond between E5 and its cargo.These results show that E5 causes the retention of its fused protein inside endosomes even after lysis takes place.These data establish that HA2 analogs might not be useful PTDs unless cleavable linkers are engineered between PTD and protein cargo.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Protein transduction domains (PTDs), such as Tat, antennapedia homeoprotein (Antp), Rev and VP22, have been extensively utilized for intracellular delivery of biologically active macromolecules in vitro and in vivo. There is little known, however, about the relative transduction efficacy, cytotoxicity and internalization mechanism of individual PTDs. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: We examined the cargo delivery efficacies of four major PTDs (Tat, Antp, Rev and VP22) and evaluated their toxicities and cell internalizing pathways in various cell lines. KEY RESULTS: The relative order of the transduction efficacy of these PTDs conjugated to fluorescein was Rev>Antp>Tat>VP22, independent of cell type (HeLa, HaCaT, A431, Jurkat, MOLT-4 and HL60 cells). Antp produced significant toxicity in HeLa and Jurkat cells, and Rev produced significant toxicity in Jurkat cells. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that the uptake of PTD-fluorescein conjugate was dose-dependently inhibited by methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, cytochalasin D and amiloride, indicating that all four PTDs were internalized by the macropinocytotic pathway. Accordingly, in cells co-treated with 'Tat-fused' endosome-disruptive HA2 peptides (HA2-Tat) and independent PTD-fluorescent protein conjugates, fluorescence spread throughout the cytosol, indicating that all four PTDs were internalized into the same vesicles as Tat. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These findings suggest that macropinocytosis-dependent internalization is a crucial step in PTD-mediated molecular transduction. From the viewpoint of developing effective and safe protein transduction technology, although Tat was the most versatile carrier among the peptides studied, PTDs should be selected based on their individual characteristics.
Project description:Expression of cellular receptors determines viral tropism and limits gene delivery by viral vectors. Protein transduction domains (PTDs) have been shown to deliver proteins, antisense oligonucleotides, liposomes, or plasmid DNA into cells. In our study, we investigated the role of several PTD motifs in adenoviral infection. When physiologically expressed, a PTD from human immunodeficiency virus transactivator of transcription (Tat) did not improve adenoviral infection. We therefore fused PTDs to the ectodomain of the coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR(ex)) to attach PTDs to adenoviral fiber knobs. CAR(ex)-Tat and CAR(ex)-VP22 allowed efficient adenoviral infection in nonpermissive cells and significantly improved viral uptake rates in permissive cells. Dose-dependent competition of CAR(ex)-PTD-mediated infection using CAR(ex) and inhibition experiments with heparin showed that binding of CAR(ex)-PTD to both adenoviral fiber and cellular glycosaminoglycans is essential for the improvement of infection. CAR(ex)-PTD-treated adenoviruses retained their properties after density gradient ultracentrifugation, indicating stable binding of CAR(ex)-PTD to adenoviral particles. Consequently, the mechanism of CAR(ex)-PTD-mediated infection involves coating of the viral fiber knobs by CAR(ex)-PTD, rather than placement of CAR(ex) domains on cell surfaces. Expression of CAR(ex)-PTDs led to enhanced lysis of permissive and nonpermissive tumor cells by replicating adenoviruses, indicating that CAR(ex)-PTDs are valuable tools to improve the efficacy of oncolytic therapy. Together, our study shows that CAR(ex)-PTDs facilitate gene transfer in nonpermissive cells and improve viral uptake at reduced titers and infection times. The data suggest that PTDs fused to virus binding receptors may be a valuable tool to overcome natural tropism of vectors and could be of great interest for gene therapeutic approaches.
Project description:HA2-TAT is a peptide-based delivery agent that combines the pH-sensitive HA2 fusion peptide from influenza and the cell-penetrating peptide TAT from HIV. This chimeric peptide is engineered to induce the cellular uptake of macromolecules into endosomes via the TAT moiety and to respond to the acidifying lumen of endosomes to cause membrane leakage and release of macromolecules into cells via the HA2 moiety. The question of how HA2 and TAT affect the properties of one another remains, however, unanswered, and the behavior of the peptide inside endosomes is mostly uncharacterized. To address these issues, the binding and membrane leakage activity of a glutamic acid-enriched analogue E5-TAT was assessed with red blood cells and giant unilamellar vesicles as membrane models for endosomes. Hemolysis and microscopy assays reveal that E5-TAT binds to membranes in a pH-dependent manner and causes membrane leakage by inducing the formation of pores through which macromolecules can escape. The TAT moiety contributes to this activity by causing a shift in the pH response of E5 and by binding to negatively charged phospholipids. On the other hand, TAT binding to glycosaminoglycans reduces the lytic activity of E5-TAT. Addition of TAT to the C-terminus of E5 can therefore either increase or inhibit the activity of E5 depending on the cellular components present at the membrane. Taken together, these results suggest a model for the endosomolytic activity of the peptide and provide the basis for the molecular design of future delivery agents.
Project description:Bioactive macromolecular peptides and oligonucleotides have significant therapeutic potential. However, due to their size, they have no ability to enter the cytoplasm of cells. Peptide/Protein transduction domains (PTDs), also called cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), can promote uptake of macromolecules via endocytosis. However, overcoming the rate-limiting step of endosomal escape into the cytoplasm remains a major challenge. Hydrophobic amino acid R groups are known to play a vital role in viral escape from endosomes. Here we utilize a real-time, quantitative live cell split-GFP fluorescence complementation phenotypic assay to systematically analyze and optimize a series of synthetic endosomal escape domains (EEDs). By conjugating EEDs to a TAT-PTD/CPP spilt-GFP peptide complementation assay, we were able to quantitatively measure endosomal escape into the cytoplasm of live cells via restoration of GFP fluorescence by intracellular molecular complementation. We found that EEDs containing two aromatic indole rings or one indole ring and two aromatic phenyl groups at a fixed distance of six polyethylene glycol (PEG) units from the TAT-PTD-cargo significantly enhanced cytoplasmic delivery in the absence of cytotoxicity. EEDs address the critical rate-limiting step of endosomal escape in delivery of macromolecular biologic peptide, protein and siRNA therapeutics into cells.
Project description:Cellular uptake of the human immunodeficiency virus TAT protein transduction domain (PTD), or cell-penetrating peptide, has previously been surmised to occur in a manner dependent on the presence of heparan sulfate proteoglycans that are expressed ubiquitously on the cell surface. These acidic polysaccharides form a large pool of negative charge on the cell surface that TAT PTD binds avidly. Additionally, sulfated glycans have been proposed to aid in the interaction of TAT PTD and other arginine-rich PTDs with the cell membrane, perhaps aiding their translocation across the membrane. Surprisingly, however, TAT PTD-mediated induction of macropinocytosis and cellular transduction occurs in the absence of heparan sulfate and sialic acid. Using labeled TAT PTD peptides and fusion proteins, in addition to TAT PTD-Cre recombination-based phenotypic assays, we show that transduction occurs efficiently in mutant Chinese hamster ovary cell lines deficient in glycosaminoglycans and sialic acids. Similar results were obtained in cells where glycans were enzymatically removed. In contrast, enzymatic removal of proteins from the cell surface completely ablated TAT PTD-mediated transduction. Our findings support the hypothesis that acidic glycans form a pool of charge that TAT PTD binds on the cell surface, but this binding is independent of the PTD-mediated transduction mechanism and the induction of macropinocytotic uptake by TAT PTD.
Project description:Delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to specific cell types is a significant challenge for the development of RNA interference-based therapeutics. Recently, PTD-DRBD, a double-stranded RNA binding domain (DRBD) fused to the TAT protein transduction domain (PTD), was shown to be effective at delivering siRNA in a non-cell type-specific manner. Here, we evaluated the potential of DRBD as a general protein platform for targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery. We found that a single DRBD was insufficient to stably complex siRNA when fused to targeting peptides other than PTD, which facilitated nonspecific nucleic acid binding. In contrast to PTD-DRBD, fusion proteins containing two DRBDs (2× DRBD) yielded specific and stable siRNA binding. These proteins could mediate the cellular uptake of siRNA in vitro, though compared with PTD-DRBD gene silencing was attenuated by endosomal entrapment. Our findings suggest that unlike a single DRBD, 2× DRBD inhibits siRNA escape into the cytoplasm and/or induces an internalization pathway distinct from that of PTD-DRBD. Collectively, these data indicate that while 2× DRBD retains siRNA-binding activity when fused to different cell surface-interacting peptides, the utility of 2× DRBD for cell-specific RNA interference is limited without further protein engineering to enhance the bioavailability of the delivered siRNAs.Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids (2012) 1, e53; doi:10.1038/mtna.2012.43; published online 13 November 2012.
Project description:Cationic peptides termed protein transduction domains (PTDs) have been shown to cross biological membranes efficiently. However, proteins transduced by PTDs become entrapped within the endosomal vesicles and are not delivered into organelles. We have developed a novel protein delivery system to enhance the proton sponge effect, which results in rupture of the endosomes, by using a mixture of Wr-T transporter peptide and a commercially available cationic lipid reagent. This peptide and cationic lipid reagent mixture efficiently delivers a variety of cargo proteins into living cells by releasing them from the endosomes.
Project description:Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) is widely used as an oncolytic agent for cancer therapy. However, its infectivity is highly dependent on the expression level of coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) on the surfaces of tumor cells. Furthermore, infected cells overproduce adenovirus fiber proteins, which are released prior to cell lysis. The released fibers block CAR on noninfected neighboring cells, thereby preventing progeny virus entry. Our aim was to add a CAR-independent infection route to Ad5 to increase the infectivity of tumor cells with low CAR expression and prevent the fiber-masking problem. We constructed Ad5 viruses that encode the protein transduction domain (PTD) of the HIV-1 Tat protein (Tat-PTD) in hypervariable region 5 (HVR5) of the hexon protein. Tat-PTD functions as a cell-penetrating peptide, and Tat-PTD-modified Ad5 showed a dramatic increased transduction of CAR-negative cell lines compared to unmodified vector. Moreover, while tumor cell infectivity was severely reduced for Ad5 in the presence of fiber proteins, it was only marginally reduced for Tat-PTD-modified Ad5. Furthermore, because of the sequence alteration in the hexon HVR, coagulation factor X-mediated virus uptake was significantly reduced. Mice harboring human neuroblastoma and neuroendocrine tumors show suppressed tumor growths and prolonged survival when treated with Tat-PTD-modified oncolytic viruses. Our data suggest that modification of Ad5 with Tat-PTD in HVR5 expands its utility as an oncolytic agent.
Project description:The delivery of molecules into cells poses a critical problem that has to be solved for the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents acting on intracellular targets. Cargos which by themselves cannot penetrate cellular membranes due to their biophysical properties can achieve cell membrane permeability by fusion to protein transduction domains (PTDs). Here, we engineered a universal delivery system based on PTD-fused Strep-Tactin, which we named Transtactin. Biochemical characterization of Transtactin variants bearing different PTDs indicated high thermal stabilities and robust secondary structures. Internalization studies demonstrated that Transtactins facilitated simple and safe transport of Strep-tag II-linked small molecules, peptides and multicomponent complexes, or biotinylated proteins into cultured human cells. Transtactin-introduced cargos were functionally active, as shown for horseradish peroxidase serving as a model protein. Our results demonstrate that Transtactin provides a universal and efficient delivery system for Strep-tag II-fused cargos.
Project description:Although immersion and oral vaccination are the most practical methods for fish farmers, their applications are very limited due to low immune stimulation effect. We used the protein transduction domain (PTD) of transactivating transcriptional factor (TAT) derived from HIV TAT protein to increase the delivery efficiency of aquatic protein vaccines. Vibrio parahaemolyticus outer membrane protein K (ompK), a reported vaccine candidate for the prevention of V.?parahaemolyticus infection, was fused with TAT-PTD expressed in Escherichia coli. We found that PTD-ompK fusion protein effectively penetrated into marbled eel bodies. Analysis of ompK antibody titres demonstrated that immersion vaccination with PTD-ompK was superior to ompK alone and induced robust immune stimulation in marbled eels. Both active and passive protection analyses against immersive challenge with V.?parahaemolyticus strains demonstrated that marbled eels immunized with PTD-ompK survived significantly longer than those immunized with ompK alone. Our results indicated that TAT-PTD could be served as is an efficient delivery system for aquatic immersion vaccinations against various infectious diseases commonly seen in aquatic farm industry.