Translocation of cell-penetrating peptides into Candida fungal pathogens.
ABSTRACT: Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are small peptides capable of crossing cellular membranes while carrying molecular cargo. Although they have been widely studied for their ability to translocate nucleic acids, small molecules, and proteins into mammalian cells, studies of their interaction with fungal cells are limited. In this work, we evaluated the translocation of eleven fluorescently labeled peptides into the important human fungal pathogens Candida albicans and C. glabrata and explored the mechanisms of translocation. Seven of these peptides (cecropin B, penetratin, pVEC, MAP, SynB, (KFF)3 K, and MPG) exhibited substantial translocation (>80% of cells) into both species in a concentration-dependent manner, and an additional peptide (TP-10) exhibiting strong translocation into only C. glabrata. Vacuoles were involved in translocation and intracellular trafficking of the peptides in the fungal cells and, for some peptides, escape from the vacuoles and localization in the cytosol were correlated to toxicity toward the fungal cells. Endocytosis was involved in the translocation of cecropin B, MAP, SynB, MPG, (KFF)3 K, and TP-10, and cecropin B, penetratin, pVEC, and MAP caused membrane permeabilization during translocation. These results indicate the involvement of multiple translocation mechanisms for some CPPs. Although high levels of translocation were typically associated with toxicity of the peptides toward the fungal cells, SynB was translocated efficiently into Candida cells at concentrations that led to minimal toxicity. Our work highlights the potential of CPPs in delivering antifungal molecules and other bioactive cargo to Candida pathogens.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are a group of peptides, which have the ability to cross cell membrane bilayers. CPPs themselves can exert biological activity and can be formed endogenously. Fragmentary studies demonstrate their ability to enhance transport of different cargoes across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). However, comparative, quantitative data on the BBB permeability of different CPPs are currently lacking. Therefore, the in vivo BBB transport characteristics of five chemically diverse CPPs, i.e. pVEC, SynB3, Tat 47-57, transportan 10 (TP10) and TP10-2, were determined. The results of the multiple time regression (MTR) analysis revealed that CPPs show divergent BBB influx properties: Tat 47-57, SynB3, and especially pVEC showed very high unidirectional influx rates of 4.73 ?l/(g × min), 5.63 ?l/(g × min) and 6.02 ?l/(g × min), respectively, while the transportan analogs showed a negligible to low brain influx. Using capillary depletion, it was found that 80% of the influxed peptides effectively reached the brain parenchyma. Except for pVEC, all peptides showed a significant efflux out of the brain. Co-injection of pVEC with radioiodinated bovine serum albumin (BSA) did not enhance the brain influx of radiodionated BSA, indicating that pVEC does not itself significantly alter the BBB properties. A saturable mechanism could not be demonstrated by co-injecting an excess dose of non-radiolabeled CPP. No significant regional differences in brain influx were observed, with the exception for pVEC, for which the regional variations were only marginal. The observed BBB influx transport properties cannot be correlated with their cell-penetrating ability, and therefore, good CPP properties do not imply efficient brain influx.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have distinct properties to translocate across cell envelope. The key property of CPPs to translocation with attached molecules has been utilized as vehicles for the delivery of several potential drug candidates that illustrate the significant effect in in-vitro experiment but fail in in-vivo experiment due to selectively permeable nature of cell envelop. Penetratin, a well-known CPP identified from the third α-helix of Antennapedia homeodomain of Drosophila, has been widely used and studied for the delivery of bioactive molecules to treat cancers, stroke, and infections caused by pathogenic organisms. Few studies have demonstrated that penetratin directly possesses antimicrobial activities against bacterial and fungal pathogens; however, the mechanism is unknown. In this study, we have utilized the power of high-throughput <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> proteome microarrays to screen all the potential protein targets of penetratin. <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> proteome microarrays assays of penetratin followed by statistical analysis depicted 123 <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> proteins as the protein targets of penetratin out of ~5800 <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> proteins. To understand the target patterns of penetratin, enrichment analyses were conducted using 123 protein targets. In biological process: ribonucleoprotein complex biogenesis, nucleic acid metabolic process, actin filament-based process, transcription, DNA-templated, and negative regulation of gene expression are a few significantly enriched terms. Cytoplasm, nucleus, and cell-organelles are enriched terms for cellular component. Protein-protein interactions network depicted ribonucleoprotein complex biogenesis, cortical cytoskeleton, and histone binding, which represent the major enriched terms for the 123 protein targets of penetratin. We also compared the protein targets of penetratin and intracellular protein targets of antifungal AMPs (Lfcin B, Histatin-5, and Sub-5). The comparison results showed few unique proteins between penetratin and AMPs. Nucleic acid metabolic process and cellular component disassembly were the common enrichment terms for penetratin and three AMPs. Penetratin shows unique enrichment items that are related to DNA biological process. Moreover, motif enrichment analysis depicted different enriched motifs in the protein targets of penetratin, LfcinB, Histatin-5, and Sub-5.
Project description:The mechanism of cell-penetrating peptides entry into cells is unclear, preventing the development of more efficient vectors for biotechnological or therapeutic purposes. Here, we developed a protocol relying on fluorometry to distinguish endocytosis from direct membrane translocation, using Penetratin, TAT and R9. The quantities of internalized CPPs measured by fluorometry in cell lysates converge with those obtained by our previously reported mass spectrometry quantification method. By contrast, flow cytometry quantification faces several limitations due to fluorescence quenching processes that depend on the cell line and occur at peptide/cell ratio >6.10<sup>8</sup> for CF-Penetratin. The analysis of cellular internalization of a doubly labeled fluorescent and biotinylated Penetratin analogue by the two independent techniques, fluorometry and mass spectrometry, gave consistent results at the quantitative and qualitative levels. Both techniques revealed the use of two alternative translocation and endocytosis pathways, whose relative efficacy depends on cell-surface sugars and peptide concentration. We confirmed that Penetratin translocates at low concentration and uses endocytosis at high μM concentrations. We further demonstrate that the hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature of the N-terminal extremity impacts on the internalization efficiency of CPPs. We expect these results and the associated protocols to help unraveling the translocation pathway to the cytosol of cells.
Project description:The use of CPPs (cell-penetrating peptides) as delivery vectors for bioactive molecules has been an emerging field since 1994 when the first CPP, penetratin, was discovered. Since then, several CPPs, including the widely used Tat (transactivator of transcription) peptide, have been developed and utilized to translocate a wide range of compounds across the plasma membrane of cells both in vivo and in vitro. Although the field has emerged as a possible future candidate for drug delivery, little attention has been given to the potential toxic side effects that these peptides might exhibit in cargo delivery. Also, no comprehensive study has been performed to evaluate the relative efficacy of single CPPs to convey different cargos. Therefore we selected three of the major CPPs, penetratin, Tat and transportan 10, and evaluated their ability to deliver commonly used cargos, including fluoresceinyl moiety, double-stranded DNA and proteins (i.e. avidin and streptavidin), and studied their effect on membrane integrity and cell viability. Our results demonstrate the unfeasibility to use the translocation efficacy of fluorescein moiety as a gauge for CPP efficiency, since the delivery properties are dependent on the cargo used. Furthermore, and no less importantly, the toxicity of CPPs depends heavily on peptide concentration, cargo molecule and coupling strategy.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are small cationic peptides that cross the cell membrane while carrying macromolecular cargoes. We use solid-state NMR to investigate the structure and lipid interaction of two cationic residues, Arg(10) and Lys(13), in the CPP penetratin. (13)C chemical shifts indicate that Arg(10) adopts a rigid beta-strand conformation in the liquid-crystalline state of anionic lipid membranes. This behavior contrasts with all other residues observed so far in this peptide, which adopt a dynamic beta-turn conformation with coil-like chemical shifts at physiological temperature. Low-temperature (13)C-(31)P distances between the peptide and the lipid phosphates indicate that both the Arg(10) guanidinium Czeta atom and the Lys(13) Cepsilon atom are close to the lipid (31)P (4.0-4.2 A), proving the existence of charge-charge interaction for both Arg(10) and Lys(13) in the gel-phase membrane. However, since lysine substitution in CPPs is known to weaken their translocation ability, we propose that the low temperature stabilizes interactions of both lysine and arginine with the phosphates, whereas at high temperatures, the lysine-phosphate interaction is much weaker than the arginine-phosphate interaction. This is supported by the unusually high rigidity of the Arg(10) side chain and its beta-strand conformation at high temperatures. The latter is proposed to be important for ion pair formation by allowing close approach of the lipid headgroups to guanidinium side chains. (19)F and (13)C spin diffusion experiments indicate that penetratin is oligomerized into beta-sheets in gel-phase membranes. These solid-state NMR data indicate that guanidinium-phosphate interactions exist in penetratin, and guanidinium groups play a stronger structural role than ammonium groups in the lipid-assisted translocation of CPPs across liquid-crystalline cell membranes.
Project description:Peptides and analogs such as peptide nucleic acids (PNA) are promising tools and therapeutics, but the cell membrane remains a barrier to intracellular targets. Conjugation to classical cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) such as pTat<sub>48-60</sub> (tat) and pAntp<sub>43-68</sub> (penetratin) facilitates delivery; however, efficiencies are low. Lack of explicit design principles hinders rational improvement. Here, we use synthetic molecular evolution (SME) to identify gain-of-function CPPs with dramatically improved ability to deliver cargoes to cells at low concentration. A CPP library containing 8192 tat/penetratin hybrid peptides coupled to an 18-residue PNA is screened using the HeLa pTRE-LucIVS2 splice correction reporter system. The daughter CPPs identified are one to two orders of magnitude more efficient than the parent sequences at delivery of PNA, and also deliver a dye cargo and an anionic peptide cargo. The significant increase in performance following a single iteration of SME demonstrates the power of this approach to peptide sequence optimization.
Project description:The use of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) as drug carriers for targeted therapy is limited by the unrestricted cellular translocation of CPPs. The preferential induction of tumor cell death by penetratin (Antp)-directed peptides (PNC27 and PNC28), however, suggests that the CPP Antp may contribute to the preferential cytotoxicity of these peptides. Using PNC27 as a molecular model, we constructed three novel peptides (PT, PR9, and PD3) by replacing the leader peptide Antp with one of three distinct CPPs (TAT, R9, or DPV3), respectively. The IC(50) values of PNC27 in tumor cells were 2-3 times lower than in normal cells. However, all three engineered peptides demonstrated similar cytotoxic effects in tumor and normal cells. Another three chimeric peptides containing the leader peptide Antp with different mitochondria-disrupting peptides (KLA-Antp (KGA), B27-Antp (BA27), and B28-Antp (BA28)), preferentially induced apoptosis in tumor cells. The IC(50) values of these peptides (3-10 microM) were 3-6 times lower in tumor cells than in normal cells. In contrast, TAT-directed peptides (TAT-KLA (TK), TAT-B27 (TB27), and TAT-B28 (TB28)), were cytotoxic to both tumor and normal cells. These data demonstrate that the leader peptide Antp contributes to the preferential cytotoxicity of Antp-directed peptides. Furthermore, Antp-directed peptides bind chondroitin sulfate (CS), and the removal of endogenous CS reduces the cytotoxic effects of Antp-directed peptides in tumor cells. The overexpression of CS in tumor cells is positively correlated to the cell entry and cytotoxicity of Antp- directed peptides. These results suggest that CS overexpression in tumor cells is an important molecular portal that mediates the preferential cytotoxicity of Antp-directed peptides.
Project description:Sequence-specific interference with the nuclear pre-mRNA splicing machinery has received increased attention as an analytical tool and for development of therapeutics. It requires sequence-specific and high affinity binding of RNaseH-incompetent DNA mimics to pre-mRNA. Peptide nucleic acids (PNA) or phosphoramidate morpholino oligonucleotides (PMO) are particularly suited as steric block oligonucleotides in this respect. However, splicing correction by PNA or PMO conjugated to cell penetrating peptides (CPP), such as Tat or Penetratin, has required high concentrations (5-10 microM) of such conjugates, unless an endosomolytic agent was added to increase escape from endocytic vesicles. We have focused on the modification of existing CPPs to search for peptides able to deliver more efficiently splice correcting PNA or PMO to the nucleus in the absence of endosomolytic agents. We describe here R6-Penetratin (in which arginine-residues were added to the N-terminus of Penetratin) as the most active of all CPPs tested so far in a splicing correction assay in which masking of a cryptic splice site allows expression of a luciferase reporter gene. Efficient and sequence-specific correction occurs at 1 muM concentration of the R6Pen-PNA705 conjugate as monitored by luciferase luminescence and by RT-PCR. Some aspects of the R6Pen-PNA705 structure-function relationship have also been evaluated.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have recently attracted much interest due to their apparent ability to penetrate cell membranes in an energy-independent manner. Here molecular-dynamics simulation techniques were used to study the interaction of two CPPs: penetratin and the TAT peptide with 1,2-Dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) phospolipid bilayers shed light on alternative mechanisms by which these peptides might cross biological membranes. In contrast to previous simulation studies of charged peptides interacting with lipid bilayers, no spontaneous formation of transmembrane pores was observed. Instead, the simulations suggest that the peptides may enter the cell by micropinocytosis, whereby the peptides induce curvature in the membrane, ultimately leading to the formation of small vesicles within the cell that encapsulate the peptides. Specifically, multiple peptides were observed to induce large deformations in the lipid bilayer that persisted throughout the timescale of the simulations (hundreds of nanoseconds). Pore formation could be induced in simulations in which an external potential was used to pull a single penetratin or TAT peptide into the membrane. With the use of umbrella-sampling techniques, the free energy of inserting a single penetratin peptide into a DPPC bilayer was estimated to be approximately 75 kJmol(-1), which suggests that the spontaneous penetration of single peptides would require a timescale of at least seconds to minutes. This work also illustrates the extent to which the results of such simulations can depend on the initial conditions, the extent of equilibration, the size of the system, and the conditions under which the simulations are performed. The implications of this with respect to the current systems and to simulations of membrane-peptide interactions in general are discussed.
Project description:Conventionally, the delivery of biomolecules into bacteria for the generation of characterized or functional mutants has relied greatly on horizontal gene transfer techniques. However, the low compatibility of these techniques with novel or hard-to-transform bacteria currently serves as a challenge to the bioengineering field. Here, we explored the use of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) as an alternative biomolecule delivery approach by investigating the effects of the abiotic factors during CPP permeation. Using the (KFF)<sub>3</sub>K-FAM conjugate and <i>Escherichia coli</i> as models, we evaluated four abiotic factors where two of these factors, temperature and solution tonicity, promoted (KFF)<sub>3</sub>K-FAM permeation efficiency. Our data show that optimal (KFF)<sub>3</sub>K-FAM permeation efficiency was achieved for <i>E. coli</i> at approximately 98.1% under conditions of 37°C (growth optimal temperature) and 50% PBS concentration. Based on these conditions, we subsequently tested the applicability of CPP permeation in various bacterial strains by treating 10 bacterial strains from the Enterobacteriaceae family among which seven strains have no CPP permeation records with (KFF)<sub>3</sub>K-FAM. Interestingly, when compared with non-optimized conditions, all 10 strains showed a marked increase in CPP permeation ranging between 20 and 90% efficiency. Although using strains within Enterobacteriaceae that are phylogenetically close, our results hinted on the possibility that with proper optimization of the abiotic factors, CPPs could be compatible with a broad range of bacterial strains. Our efforts suggest that CPP could serve as an effective alternative approach for mutant generation and for biomolecule delivery into novel or hard-to-transform bacteria.