Chemical-functional diversity in cell-penetrating peptides.
ABSTRACT: Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are a promising tool to overcome cell membrane barriers. They have already been successfully applied as carriers for several problematic cargoes, like e.g. plasmid DNA and (si)RNA, opening doors for new therapeutics. Although several hundreds of CPPs are already described in the literature, only a few commercial applications of CPPs are currently available. Cellular uptake studies of these peptides suffer from inconsistencies in used techniques and other experimental conditions, leading to uncertainties about their uptake mechanisms and structural properties. To clarify the structural characteristics influencing the cell-penetrating properties of peptides, the chemical-functional space of peptides, already investigated for cellular uptake, was explored. For 186 peptides, a new cell-penetrating (CP)-response was proposed, based upon the scattered quantitative results for cellular influx available in the literature. Principal component analysis (PCA) and a quantitative structure-property relationship study (QSPR), using chemo-molecular descriptors and our newly defined CP-response, learned that besides typical well-known properties of CPPs, i.e. positive charge and amphipathicity, the shape, structure complexity and the 3D-pattern of constituting atoms influence the cellular uptake capacity of peptides.
Project description:Among various delivery systems for vaccine and drug delivery, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been known as a potent delivery system because of their capability to penetrate cell membranes and deliver some types of cargoes into cells. Several CPPs were found in the proteome of viruses such as Tat originated from human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), and VP22 derived from herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). In the current study, a wide-range of CPPs was identified in the proteome of SARS-CoV-2, a new member of coronaviruses family, using in silico analyses. These CPPs may play a main role for high penetration of virus into cells and infection of host. At first, we submitted the proteome of SARS-CoV-2 to CellPPD web server that resulted in a huge number of CPPs with ten residues in length. Afterward, we submitted the predicted CPPs to C2Pred web server for evaluation of the probability of each peptide. Then, the uptake efficiency of each peptide was investigated using CPPred-RF and MLCPP web servers. Next, the physicochemical properties of the predicted CPPs including net charge, theoretical isoelectric point (pI), amphipathicity, molecular weight, and water solubility were calculated using protparam and pepcalc tools. In addition, the probability of membrane binding potential and cellular localization of each CPP were estimated by Boman index using APD3 web server, D factor, and TMHMM web server. On the other hand, the immunogenicity, toxicity, allergenicity, hemolytic potency, and half-life of CPPs were predicted using various web servers. Finally, the tertiary structure and the helical wheel projection of some CPPs were predicted by PEP-FOLD3 and Heliquest web servers, respectively. These CPPs were divided into: a) CPP containing tumor homing motif (RGD) and/or tumor penetrating motif (RXXR); b) CPP with the highest Boman index; c) CPP with high half-life (~100 hour) in mammalian cells, and d) CPP with +5.00 net charge. Based on the results, we found a large number of novel CPPs with various features. Some of these CPPs possess tumor-specific motifs which can be evaluated in cancer therapy. Furthermore, the novel and potent CPPs derived from SARS-CoV-2 may be used alone or conjugated to some sequences such as nuclear localization sequence (NLS) for vaccine and drug delivery.
Project description:Many of the reported arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) for the enhanced delivery of drugs are linear peptides composed of more than seven arginine residues to retain the cell penetration properties. Herein, we synthesized a class of nine polyarginine peptides containing 5 and 6 arginines, namely, R5 and R6. We further explored the effect of acylation with long chain fatty acids (i.e., octanoic acid, dodecanoic acid, and hexadecanoic acid) and cyclization on the cell penetrating properties of the peptides. The fluorescence-labeled acylated cyclic peptide dodecanoyl-[R5] and linear peptide dodecanoyl-(R5) showed approximately 13.7- and 10.2-fold higher cellular uptake than that of control 5,6-carboxyfluorescein, respectively. The mechanism of the peptide internalization into cells was found to be energy-dependent endocytosis. Dodecanoyl-[R5] and dodecanoyl-[R6] enhanced the intracellular uptake of a fluorescence-labeled cell-impermeable negatively charged phosphopeptide (F'-GpYEEI) in human ovarian cancer cells (SK-OV-3) by 3.4-fold and 5.5-fold, respectively, as shown by flow cytometry. The cellular uptake of F'-GpYEEI in the presence of hexadecanoyl-[R5] was 9.3- and 6.0-fold higher than that in the presence of octanoyl-[R5] and dodecanoyl-[R5], respectively. Dodecanoyl-[R5] enhanced the cellular uptake of the phosphopeptide by 1.4-2.5-fold higher than the corresponding linear peptide dodecanoyl-(R5) and those of representative CPPs, such as hepta-arginine (CR7) and TAT peptide. These results showed that a combination of acylation by long chain fatty acids and cyclization on short arginine-containing peptides can improve their cell-penetrating property, possibly through efficient interaction of rigid positively charged R and hydrophobic dodecanoyl moiety with the corresponding residues in the cell membrane phospholipids.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are promising delivery vehicles. These short peptides can transport wide range of cargos into cells, although their usage has often limitations. One of them is the endosomatic internalisation and thus the vesicular entrapment. Modifications which increases the direct delivery into the cytosol is highly researched area. Among the oligoarginines the longer ones (n > 6) show efficient internalisation and they are well-known members of CPPs. Herein, we describe the modification of tetra- and hexaarginine with (4-((4-(dimethylamino)phenyl)azo)benzoyl) (Dabcyl) group. This chromophore, which is often used in FRET system increased the internalisation of both peptides, and its effect was more outstanding in case of hexaarginine. The modified hexaarginine may enter into cells more effectively than octaarginine, and showed diffuse distribution besides vesicular transport already at low concentration. The attachment of Dabcyl group not only increases the cellular uptake of the cell-penetrating peptides but it may affect the mechanism of their internalisation. Their conjugates with antitumor drugs were studied on different cells and showed antitumor activity.
Project description:Three cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), Tat, Pep-3 and penetratin, were split into two parts and each fragment was terminated with a cysteine residue, to allow disulfide bridge formation, as well as a fluorescent label, for visualization and quantitative analysis. After disulfide formation between two complementary CPP fragments, cellular uptake of the resulting conjugates was observed. As confirmed by in vitro experiments, the conjugated peptides showed uptake activity comparable to the native CPP sequences, while the truncated peptides were hardly active. Until now, this split CPP strategy has only been demonstrated for oligo-arginine CPPs, but here we demonstrate that it is also applicable to other cell-penetrating peptides. This wider applicability may help in the design of new activatable cell-penetrating peptides for, e.g., targeted drug delivery.
Project description:Within this study, we report about the design and biological characterization of novel cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) with selective suborganelle-targeting properties. The nuclear localization sequence N50, as well as the nucleoli-targeting sequence NrTP, respectively, were fused to a shortened version of the cell-penetrating peptide sC18. We examined cellular uptake, subcellular fate and cytotoxicity of these novel peptides, N50-sC18* and NrTP-sC18*, and found that they are nontoxic up to a concentration of 50 or 100 µM depending on the cell lines used. Moreover, detailed cellular uptake studies revealed that both peptides enter cells via energy-independent uptake, although endocytotic processes cannot completely excluded. However, initial drug delivery studies demonstrated the high versatility of these new peptides as efficient transport vectors targeting specifically nuclei and nucleoli. In future, they could be further explored as parts of newly created peptide-drug conjugates.
Project description:Nanoparticles have great potential as nanotherapeutics, delivery vectors, and molecular imaging agents due to their flexible properties. Although intracellular and nuclear delivery of nanoparticles is desirable for therapeutic applications, it remains a challenge. Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are a powerful tool for the intracellular delivery of various cargoes. Here we report that functionalization of nanoparticles with a myristoylated oligoarginine CPP promoted cellular uptake without increased toxicity. It was evidenced that the myristoylated CPP is much more effective in transporting nanoparticles than the unmodified CPPs.
Project description:Gemcitabine (Gem) is used as a single agent or in combination with other anticancer agents to treat many types of solid tumors. However, it has many limitations such as a short plasma half-life, dose-limiting toxicities and drug resistance. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short peptides which may deliver a large variety of cargo molecules into the cancerous cells. The current study was designed to evaluate the antiproliferative activity of gemcitabine chemically conjugated to CPPs. The peptides were synthesized using solid phase synthesis procedure. The uptake efficiency of CPPs into cells was examined by flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy. The synthesized peptides were chemically conjugated to Gem and the in vitro cytotoxicity of conjugates was tested by MTT assay on A594 cell line. According to the obtained results, cellular uptake was increased with increasing the concentration of CPPs. On the other hand the coupling of Gem with peptides containing block sequence of arginine (R5W3R4) and some alternating sequences (i.e. [RW]6 and [RW]3) exhibited improved antitumor activity of the drug. The findings in this study support the advantages of using cell-penetrating peptides for improving intracellular delivery of Gem into tumor as well as its activity.
Project description:Due to their enhanced stability and cell permeability, cyclic cell-penetrating peptides have been widely used as delivery vectors for transporting cell-impermeable cargos into cells. In this study, we synthesized a panel of conformationally constrained peptides with either ?-helix or ?-hairpin conformations. We tuned the amphiphilicity of these constrained peptides with different distributions of charged or hydrophobic residues and compared their cellular uptake efficiencies in different cell lines. We found that the amphipathicity of these conformationally constrained peptides correlates well with their cellular uptake efficiency. We proposed that peptides with larger hydrophobic moments (HMs) have stronger binding affinities with the cell membrane which further accelerates the endocytosis process. This finding should provide an approach towards the design of more potent conformationally constrained cell-penetrating peptides for biomedical applications.
Project description:Peptides can be used as research tools and for diagnostic or therapeutic applications. Peptides, alongside small molecules and antibodies, are used and are gaining further interest as protein-protein interaction (PPI) modulators. Peptides have high target specificity and high affinity, but, unlike small molecule modulators, they are not able to cross the cell membranes to reach their intracellular targets. To overcome this limitation, the special property of the cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) could benefit their cause. CPPs are a class of peptides that can enter the cells and with them also deliver the attached cargoes. Today, with the advancement of in silico prediction tools and the availability of protein databases, designing new and multifunctional peptides that are able to reach intracellular targets and inhibit certain cellular processes in a very specific manner is reachable. Although there are several efficient CPP sequences already known, the discovery of new CPPs is crucial for the development of efficient delivery methods for both biotechnological and therapeutic applications. In this work, we chose 10 human nuclear proteins from which we predicted new potential CPP sequences by using three different CPP predictors: cell-penetrating peptide prediction tool, CellPPD, and SkipCPP-Pred. From each protein, one predicted CPP sequence was synthesized and its internalization into cells was assessed. Out of the tested sequences, three peptides displayed features characteristic to CPPs. These peptides and also the predicted peptide sequences could be used to design and modify new CPPs. In this work, we show that we can use protein sequences as input for generating new peptides with cell internalization properties. Three new CPPs, AHRR<sub>8-24</sub>, CASC3<sub>251-264</sub>, and AKIP1<sub>27-37</sub>, can be further used for the delivery of other cargoes or designed into multifunctional peptides with capability of internalizing cells.
Project description:PURPOSE:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are used for delivering drugs and other macromolecular cargo into living cells. In this paper, we investigated the relationship between the structural/physicochemical properties of four new synthetic peptides containing arginine-tryptophan in terms of their cell membrane penetration efficiency. METHODS:The peptides were prepared using solid phase synthesis procedure using FMOC protected amino acids. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting and ?uorescence imaging were used to evaluate uptake efficiency. Prediction of the peptide secondary structure and estimation of physicochemical properties was performed using the GOR V method and MPEx 3.2 software (Wimley-White scale, helical wheel projection and total hydrophobic moment). RESULTS:Our data showed that the uptake e?ciency of peptides with two tryptophans at the C- and N-terminus were significantly higher (about 4-fold) than that of peptides containing three tryptophans at both ends. The distribution of arginine at both ends also increased the uptake e?ciency 2.52- and 7.18-fold, compared with arginine distribution at the middle of peptides. CONCLUSION:According to the obtained results the value of transfer free energies of peptides from the aqueous phase to membrane bilayer could be a good predictor for the cellular uptake efficiency of CPPs.