?-Lactamase Tools for Establishing Cell Internalization and Cytosolic Delivery of Cell Penetrating Peptides.
ABSTRACT: The ability of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) to deliver biologically relevant cargos into cells is becoming more important as targets in the intracellular space continue to be explored. We have developed two assays based on CPP-dependent, intracellular delivery of TEM-1 ?-lactamase enzyme, a functional biological molecule comparable in size to many protein therapeutics. The first assay focuses on the delivery of full-length ?-lactamase to evaluate the internalization potential of a CPP sequence. The second assay uses a split-protein system where one component of ?-lactamase is constitutively expressed in the cytoplasm of a stable cell line and the other component is delivered by a CPP. The delivery of a split ?-lactamase component evaluates the cytosolic delivery capacity of a CPP. We demonstrate that these assays are rapid, flexible and have potential for use with any cell type and CPP sequence. Both assays are validated using canonical and novel CPPs, with limits of detection from <500 nM to 1 µM. Together, the ?-lactamase assays provide compatible tools for functional characterization of CPP activity and the delivery of biological cargos into cells.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) offer great potential to deliver therapeutic molecules to previously inaccessible intracellular targets. However, many CPPs are inefficient and often leave their attached cargo stranded in the cell's endosome. We report a versatile platform for the isolation of peptides delivering a wide range of cargos into the cytoplasm of cells. We used this screening platform to identify multiple "Phylomer" CPPs, derived from bacterial and viral genomes. These peptides are amenable to conventional sequence optimization and engineering approaches for cell targeting and half-life extension. We demonstrate potent, functional delivery of protein, peptide, and nucleic acid analog cargos into cells using Phylomer CPPs. We validate in vivo activity in the cytoplasm, through successful transport of an oligonucleotide therapeutic fused to a Phylomer CPP in a disease model for Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. This report thus establishes a discovery platform for identifying novel, functional CPPs to expand the delivery landscape of druggable intracellular targets for biological therapeutics.
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:The use of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) as biomolecular delivery vehicles holds great promise for therapeutic and other applications, but development has been stymied by poor delivery and lack of endosomal escape. We have developed a CPP-adaptor system capable of efficient intracellular delivery and endosomal escape of user-defined protein cargos. The cell-penetrating sequence of HIV transactivator of transcription was fused to calmodulin, which binds with subnanomolar affinity to proteins containing a calmodulin binding site. Our strategy has tremendous advantage over prior CPP technologies because it utilizes high-affinity non-covalent, but reversible coupling between CPP and cargo. Three different cargo proteins fused to a calmodulin binding sequence were delivered to the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells and released, demonstrating the feasibility of numerous applications in living cells including alteration of signaling pathways and gene expression.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are peptides that can be translocated into cells and used as a carrier platform for the intracellular uptake of cargo molecules. Subject to the source of CPP sequences and their positively charged nature, the cytotoxicity and immunogenicity of conventional CPPs needs to be optimized to expand their utility for biomedical applications. In addition to these safety issues, the stability of CPPs needs to be addressed since their positively charged residues are prone to interact with the biological milieu. As an effort to overcome these limitations of the current CPP technology, we isolated CPP candidate sequences and synthesized peptides from twelve isoforms of annexin, a family of membrane-interacting human proteins. The candidate screen returned a CPP rich in hydrophobic residues that showed more efficient cellular uptake than TAT-CPP. We then investigated the uptake mechanism, subcellular localization, and biophysical properties of the newly found CPP, verifying low cytotoxicity, long-term serum stability, and non-immunogenicity. Finally, model proteins conjugated to this peptide were successfully delivered into mammalian cells both in vitro and in vivo, indicating a potential use of the peptide as a carrier for the delivery of macromolecular cargos.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides have long held great potential for delivery of biomolecular cargos for research, therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. They allow rapid, relatively nontoxic passage of a wide variety of biomolecules through the plasma membranes of living cells. However, CPP-based research tools and therapeutics have been stymied by poor efficiency in release from endosomes and a great deal of effort has been made to solve this 'endosomal escape problem.' Previously, we showed that use of a reversible, noncovalent coupling between CPP and cargo using calmodulin and a calmodulin binding motif allowed efficient delivery of cargo proteins to the cytoplasm in baby hamster kidney and other mammalian cell lines. The present report demonstrates the efficacy of our CPP-adaptor scheme for efficient delivery of model cargos to the cytoplasm using a variety of CPPs and adaptors. Effective overcoming of the endosomal escape problem is further demonstrated by the delivery of cargo to the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes by addition of appropriate subcellular localization signals to the cargos. CPP-adaptors were also used to deliver cargo to myotubes, demonstrating the feasibility of the system as an alternative to transfection for the manipulation of hard-to-transfect cells.
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:The cell membrane is a complex and highly regulated system that is composed of lipid bilayer and proteins. One of the main functions of the cell membrane is the regulation of cell entry. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are defined as peptides that can cross the plasma membrane and deliver their cargo inside the cell. The uptake of a peptide is determined by its sequence and biophysicochemical properties. At the same time, the uptake mechanism and efficiency are shown to be dependent on local peptide concentration, cell membrane lipid composition, characteristics of the cargo, and experimental methodology, suggesting that a highly efficient CPP in one system might not be as productive in another. To better understand the dependence of CPPs on the experimental system, we present a review of the in vitro assays that have been employed in the literature to evaluate CPPs and CPP-cargos. Our comprehensive review suggests that utilization of orthogonal assays will be more effective for deciphering the true ability of CPPs to translocate through the membrane and enter the cell cytoplasm.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are delivery vectors widely used to aid the transport of biologically active cargoes to intracellular targets. These cargoes include small interfering RNAs (siRNA) that are not naturally internalized by cells. Elucidating the complexities behind the formation of CPP and cargo complexes is crucial for understanding the processes related to their delivery. In this study, we used modified analogs of the CPP transportan10 and investigated the binding properties of these CPPs to siRNA, the formation parameters of the CPP/siRNA complexes, and their stabiliy to enzymatic degradation. We conclude that the pH dependent change of the net charge of the CPP may very well be the key factor leading to the high delivery efficiency and the optimal binding strength between CPPs to siRNAs, while the hydrophobicity, secondary structure of the CPP, and the positions of the positive charges are responsible for the stability of the CPP/siRNA particles. Also, CPPs with distinct hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions may assemble into nanoparticles that could be described as core-shell formulations.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short protein segments that can transport cargos into cells. Although CPPs are widely studied as potential drug delivery tools, their role in normal cell physiology is poorly understood. Early during infection, the L2 capsid protein of human papillomaviruses binds retromer, a cytoplasmic trafficking factor required for delivery of the incoming non-enveloped virus into the retrograde transport pathway. Here, we show that the C terminus of HPV L2 proteins contains a conserved cationic CPP that drives passage of a segment of the L2 protein through the endosomal membrane into the cytoplasm, where it binds retromer, thereby sorting the virus into the retrograde pathway for transport to the trans-Golgi network. These experiments define the cell-autonomous biological role of a CPP in its natural context and reveal how a luminal viral protein engages an essential cytoplasmic entry factor.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) can transport macromolecular cargos into live cells. However, the cellular delivery efficiency of these reagents is often suboptimal because CPP-cargo conjugates typically remain trapped inside endosomes. Interestingly, irradiation of fluorescently labeled CPPs with light increases the release of the peptide and its cargos into the cytosol. However, the mechanism of this phenomenon is not clear. Here we investigate the molecular basis of the photo-induced endosomolytic activity of the prototypical CPPs TAT labeled to the fluorophore 5(6)-carboxytetramethylrhodamine (TMR).We report that TMR-TAT acts as a photosensitizer that can destroy membranes. TMR-TAT escapes from endosomes after exposure to moderate light doses. However, this is also accompanied by loss of plasma membrane integrity, membrane blebbing, and cell-death. In addition, the peptide causes the destruction of cells when applied extracellularly and also triggers the photohemolysis of red blood cells. These photolytic and photocytotoxic effects were inhibited by hydrophobic singlet oxygen quenchers but not by hydrophilic quenchers.Together, these results suggest that TAT can convert an innocuous fluorophore such as TMR into a potent photolytic agent. This effect involves the targeting of the fluorophore to cellular membranes and the production of singlet oxygen within the hydrophobic environment of the membranes. Our findings may be relevant for the design of reagents with photo-induced endosomolytic activity. The photocytotoxicity exhibited by TMR-TAT also suggests that CPP-chromophore conjugates could aid the development of novel Photodynamic Therapy agents.