Combinatorial targeting and discovery of ligand-receptors in organelles of mammalian cells.
ABSTRACT: Phage display screening allows the study of functional protein-protein interactions at the cell surface, but investigating intracellular organelles remains a challenge. Here we introduce internalizing-phage libraries to identify clones that enter mammalian cells through a receptor-independent mechanism and target-specific organelles as a tool to select ligand peptides and identify their intracellular receptors. We demonstrate that penetratin, an antennapedia-derived peptide, can be displayed on the phage envelope and mediate receptor-independent uptake of internalizing phage into cells. We also show that an internalizing-phage construct displaying an established mitochondria-specific localization signal targets mitochondria, and that an internalizing-phage random peptide library selects for peptide motifs that localize to different intracellular compartments. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate that one such peptide, if chemically fused to penetratin, is internalized receptor-independently, localizes to mitochondria, and promotes cell death. This combinatorial platform technology has potential applications in cell biology and drug development.
Project description:Cytoskeletal-associated proteins play an active role in coordinating the adhesion and migration machinery in cancer progression. To identify functional protein networks and potential inhibitors, we screened an internalizing phage (iPhage) display library in tumor cells, and selected LGRFYAASG as a cytosol-targeting peptide. By affinity purification and mass spectrometry, intracellular annexin A2 was identified as the corresponding binding protein. Consistently, annexin A2 and a cell-internalizing, penetratin-fused version of the selected peptide (LGRFYAASG-pen) co-localized and specifically accumulated in the cytoplasm at the cell edges and cell-cell contacts. Functionally, tumor cells incubated with LGRFYAASG-pen showed disruption of filamentous actin, focal adhesions and caveolae-mediated membrane trafficking, resulting in impaired cell adhesion and migration in vitro. These effects were paralleled by a decrease in the phosphorylation of both focal adhesion kinase (Fak) and protein kinase B (Akt). Likewise, tumor cells pretreated with LGRFYAASG-pen exhibited an impaired capacity to colonize the lungs in vivo in several mouse models. Together, our findings demonstrate an unrecognized functional link between intracellular annexin A2 and tumor cell adhesion, migration and in vivo grafting. Moreover, this work uncovers a new peptide motif that binds to and inhibits intracellular annexin A2 as a candidate therapeutic lead for potential translation into clinical applications.
Project description:Techniques that are largely used for protein interaction studies and the discovery of intracellular receptors, such as affinity-capture complex purification and the yeast two-hybrid system, may produce inaccurate data sets owing to protein insolubility, transient or weak protein interactions or irrelevant intracellular context. A versatile tool for overcoming these limitations, as well as for potentially creating vaccines and engineering peptides and antibodies as targeted diagnostic and therapeutic agents, is the phage-display technique. We have recently developed a new technology for screening internalizing phage (iPhage) vectors and libraries using a ligand/receptor-independent mechanism to penetrate eukaryotic cells. iPhage particles provide a unique discovery platform for combinatorial intracellular targeting of organelle ligands along with their corresponding receptors and for fingerprinting functional protein domains in living cells. Here we explain the design, cloning, construction and production of iPhage-based vectors and libraries, along with basic ligand-receptor identification and validation methodologies for organelle receptors. An iPhage library screening can be performed in ?8 weeks.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have shown promise in nonpermeable therapeutic drug delivery, because of their ability to transport a variety of cargo molecules across the cell membranes and their noncytotoxicity. Drosophila antennapedia homeodomain-derived CPP penetratin (RQIKIWFQNRRMKWKK), being rich in positively charged residues, has been increasingly used as a potential drug carrier for various purposes. Penetratin can breach the tight endothelial network known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), permitting treatment of several neurodegenerative maladies, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. However, a detailed structural understanding of penetratin and its mechanism of action is lacking. This study defines structural features of the penetratin-derived peptide, DK17 (DRQIKIWFQNRRMKWKK), in several model membranes and describes a membrane-induced conformational transition of the DK17 peptide in these environments. A series of biophysical experiments, including high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, provides the three-dimensional structure of DK17 in different membranes mimicking the BBB or total brain lipid extract. Molecular dynamics simulations support the experimental results showing preferential binding of DK17 to particular lipids at atomic resolution. The peptide conserves the structure of the subdomain spanning residues Ile6-Arg11, despite considerable conformational variation in different membrane models. In vivo data suggest that the wild type, not a mutated sequence, enters the central nervous system. Together, these data highlight important structural and functional attributes of DK17 that could be utilized in drug delivery for neurodegenerative disorders.
Project description:In most eukaryotic cells, microtubules and filamentous actin (F-actin) provide tracks on which intracellular organelles move using molecular motors. Here we report that cytoplasmic movement of both mitochondria and lysosomes is slowed by F-actin meshwork formation in pancreatic duct epithelial cells (PDEC). Mitochondria and lysosomes were labeled with fluorescent Mitotracker Red CMXRos and Lysotracker Red DND-99, respectively, and their movements were monitored using epi-fluorescence and confocal microscopy. Mitochondria and lysosomes moving actively at rest stopped rapidly within several seconds after an intracellular Ca(2+) rise induced by activation of P2Y(2) purinergic receptors. The 'freezing' of the organelles was inhibited by blocking the Ca(2+) rise or by pretreatment with latrunculin B, an inhibitor of F-actin formation. Indeed, this freezing effect on the organelles was accompanied by the formation of F-actin in the whole cytoplasm as stained with Alexa 488-phalloidin in fixed PDEC. For real-time monitoring of F-actin formation in live cells, we expressed sGFP-fimbrin actin binding domain2 (fABD2) in PDEC. Rapid recruitment of the fluorescent probe near the nucleus and lysosomes suggested dense F-actin formation around intracellular structures. The development of F-actin paralleled that of organelle freezing. We conclude that rapid Ca(2+)-dependent F-actin formation physically restrains intracellular organelles and reduces their mobility non-selectively in PDEC.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) have attracted recent interest as drug delivery tools, although the mechanisms by which CPPs are internalized by cells are not well-defined. Here, we report a new experimental approach for the detection and secondary structure determination of CPPs in live cells using Raman microscopy with heavy isotope labeling of the peptide. As a first demonstration of principle, penetratin, a 16-residue CPP derived from the Antennapedia homeodomain protein of Drosophila, was measured in single, living melanoma cells. Carbon-13 labeling of the Phe residue of penetratin was used to shift the intense aromatic ring-breathing vibrational mode from 1003 to 967 cm(-1), thereby enabling the peptide to be traced in cells. Difference spectroscopy and principal components analysis (PCA) were used independently to resolve the Raman spectrum of the peptide from the background cellular Raman signals. On the basis of the position of the amide I vibrational band in the Raman spectra, the secondary structure of the peptide was found to be mainly random coil and beta-strand in the cytoplasm, and possibly assembling as beta-sheets in the nucleus. The rapid entry and almost uniform cellular distribution of the peptide, as well as the lack of correlation between peptide and lipid Raman signatures, indicated that the mechanism of internalization under the conditions of study was probably nonendocytotic. This experimental approach can be used to study a wide variety of CPPs as well as other classes of peptides in living cells.
Project description:Conventional electroporation (EP) changes both the conductance and molecular permeability of the plasma membrane (PM) of cells and is a standard method for delivering both biologically active and probe molecules of a wide range of sizes into cells. However, the underlying mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels remain controversial. Here we introduce a mathematical cell model that contains representative organelles (nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria) and includes a dynamic EP model, which describes formation, expansion, contraction, and destruction for the plasma and all organelle membranes. We show that conventional EP provides transient electrical pathways into the cell, sufficient to create significant intracellular fields. This emerging intracellular electrical field is a secondary effect due to EP and can cause transmembrane voltages at the organelles, which are large enough and long enough to gate organelle channels, and even sufficient, at some field strengths, for the poration of organelle membranes. This suggests an alternative to nanosecond pulsed electric fields for intracellular manipulations.
Project description:E2F-1, a key transcription factor necessary for cell growth, DNA repair, and differentiation, is an attractive target for development of anticancer drugs in tumors that are E2F "oncogene addicted". We identified a peptide isolated from phage clones that bound tightly to the E2F-1 promoter consensus sequence. The peptide was coupled to penetratin to enhance cellular uptake. Modeling of the penetratin-peptide (PEP) binding to the DNA E2F-1 promoter demonstrated favorable interactions that also involved the participation of most of the penetratin sequence. The penetratin-peptide (PEP) demonstrated potent in vitro cytotoxic effects against a range of cancer cell lines, particularly against Burkitt lymphoma cells and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells. Further studies in the H-69 SCLC cell line showed that the PEP inhibited transcription of E2F-1 and also several important E2F-regulated enzymes involved in DNA synthesis, namely, thymidylate synthase, thymidine kinase, and ribonucleotide reductase. As the PEP was found to be relatively unstable in serum, it was encapsulated in PEGylated liposomes for in vivo studies. Treatment of mice bearing the human small cell lung carcinoma H-69 with the PEP encapsulated in PEGylated liposomes (PL-PEP) caused tumor regression without significant toxicity. The liposome encapsulated PEP has promise as an antitumor agent, alone or in combination with inhibitors of DNA synthesis.
Project description:The health threat caused by multiresistant bacteria has continuously increased and recently peaked with pathogens resistant to all current drugs. This has triggered intense research efforts to develop novel compounds to overcome the resistance mechanisms. Thus, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been intensively studied, especially the family of proline-rich AMPs (PrAMPs) that was successfully tested very recently in murine infection models. PrAMPs enter bacteria and inhibit chaperone DnaK. Here, we studied the toxicity of intracellular PrAMPs in HeLa and SH-SY5Y cells. As PrAMPs cannot enter most mammalian cells, we coupled the PrAMPs with penetratin (residues 43 to 58 in the antennapedia homeodomain) via a C-terminally added cysteine utilizing a thioether bridge. The resulting construct could transport the covalently linked PrAMP into mammalian cells. Penetratin ligation reduced the MIC for Gram-negative Escherichia coli only slightly (1 to 8 ?mol/liter) but increased the activity against the Gram-positive Micrococcus luteus up to 32-fold (MIC ? 1 ?mol/liter), most likely due to more effective penetration through the bacterial membrane. In contrast to native PrAMPs, the penetratin-PrAMP constructs entered the mammalian cells, aligned around the nucleus, and associated with the Golgi apparatus. At higher concentrations, the constructs reduced the cell viability (50% inhibitory concentration [IC(50)] ? 40 ?mol/liter) and changed the morphology of the cells. No toxic effects or morphological changes were observed at concentrations of 10 ?mol/liter or below. Thus, the IC(50) values were around 5 to 40 times higher than the MIC values. In conclusion, PrAMPs are in general not toxic to mammalian cells, as they do not pass through the membrane. When shuttled into mammalian cells, however, PrAMPs are only slightly cross-reactive to mammalian chaperones or other intracellular mammalian proteins, providing a second layer of safety for in vivo applications, even if they can enter some human cells.
Project description:A novel solid-state NMR technique for identifying the asymmetric insertion depths of membrane proteins in lipid bilayers is introduced. By applying Mn (2+) ions on the outer but not the inner leaflet of lipid bilayers, the sidedness of protein residues in the lipid bilayer can be determined through paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE) effects. Protein-free lipid membranes with one-side Mn (2+)-bound surfaces exhibit significant residual (31)P and lipid headgroup (13)C intensities, in contrast to two-side Mn (2+)-bound membranes, where lipid headgroup signals are mostly suppressed. Applying this method to a cell-penetrating peptide, penetratin, we found that at low peptide concentrations, penetratin is distributed in both leaflets of the bilayer, in contrast to the prediction of the electroporation model, which predicts that penetratin binds to only the outer lipid leaflet at low peptide concentrations to cause an electric field that drives subsequent peptide translocation. The invalidation of the electroporation model suggests an alternative mechanism for intracellular import of penetratin, which may involve guanidinium-phosphate complexation between the peptide and the lipids.
Project description:Blastocystis is a unicellular stramenopile of controversial pathogenicity in humans. Although it is a strict anaerobe, Blastocystis has mitochondrion-like organelles with cristae, a transmembrane potential and DNA. An apparent lack of several typical mitochondrial pathways has led some to suggest that these organelles might be hydrogenosomes, anaerobic organelles related to mitochondria. We generated 12,767 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from Blastocystis and identified 115 clusters that encode putative mitochondrial and hydrogenosomal proteins. Among these is the canonical hydrogenosomal protein iron-only [FeFe] hydrogenase that we show localizes to the organelles. The organelles also have mitochondrial characteristics, including pathways for amino acid metabolism, iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, and an incomplete tricarboxylic acid cycle as well as a mitochondrial genome. Although complexes I and II of the electron transport chain (ETC) are present, we found no evidence for complexes III and IV or F1Fo ATPases. The Blastocystis organelles have metabolic properties of aerobic and anaerobic mitochondria and of hydrogenosomes. They are convergently similar to organelles recently described in the unrelated ciliate Nyctotherus ovalis. These findings blur the boundaries between mitochondria, hydrogenosomes, and mitosomes, as currently defined, underscoring the disparate selective forces that shape these organelles in eukaryotes.