Click to enter: activation of oligo-arginine cell-penetrating peptides by bioorthogonal tetrazine ligations.
ABSTRACT: Cell-penetrating peptides are able to transport a wide variety of cargo across cell membranes. Although promising, they are not often considered for therapeutic purposes as they lack controllable activity and cell selectivity. We have developed an activation strategy based on a split octa-arginine cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) that can be activated by means of bioorthogonal ligation. To this end we prepared two non-penetrating tetra-arginine halves, functionalized either with a tetrazine or with a complementary bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne (BCN) group. We demonstrate that an active octa-arginine can be reconstituted in situ upon mixing the complementary split peptides. The resulting activated peptide is taken up as efficiently as the well-established cell-penetrating peptide octa-arginine. The activation of the oligo-arginines can also be achieved using trans-cyclooctene (TCO) as a ligation partner, while norbornene appears too kinetically slow for use in situ. We further show that this strategy can be applied successfully to transport a large protein into living cells. Our results validate a promising first step in achieving control over cell penetration and to use CPPs for therapeutic approaches.
Project description:A novel synthetic methodology, employing a combination of the strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition and maleimide-thiol reactions, for the preparation of permethylated ?-cyclodextrin-linker-peptidyl conjugates is reported. Two different bifunctional maleimide cross-linking probes, the polyethylene glycol containing hydrophilic linker bicyclo[6.1.0] nonyne-maleimide and the hydrophobic 5'-dibenzoazacyclooctyne-maleimide, were attached to azide-appended permethylated ?-cyclodextrin. The successfully introduced maleimide function was exploited to covalently graft a cysteine-containing peptide (Ac-Tyr-Arg-Cys-Amide) to produce the target conjugates. The final target compounds were isolated in high purity after purification by isocratic preparative reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. This novel synthetic approach is expected to give access to many different cyclodextrin-linker peptides.
Project description:Genetically encoded tyrosine (Y-tag) can be utilized as a latent anchor for inducible and site-selective conjugation. Upon oxidation of tyrosine with mushroom tyrosinase, strain-promoted cycloaddition (SPOCQ) of the resulting 1,2-quinone with various bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne (BCN) derivatives led to efficient conjugation. The method was applied for fluorophore labeling of laminarinase A and for the site-specific preparation of an antibody-drug conjugate.
Project description:Copper-free click chemistry between cyclooctynes and azide is a mild, fast and selective technology for conjugation of oligonucleotides. However, technology for site-specific introduction of the requisite probes by automated protocols is scarce, while the reported cyclooctynes are large and hydrophobic. In this work, it is demonstrated that the introduction of bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne (BCN) into synthetic oligonucleotides is feasible by standard solid-phase phosphoramidite chemistry. A range of phosphoramidite building blocks is presented for incoporation of BCN or azide, either on-support or in solution. The usefulness of the approach is demonstrated by the straightforward and high-yielding conjugation of the resulting oligonucleotides, including biotinylation, fluorescent labeling, dimerization and attachment to polymer.
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:In addition to endocytosis-mediated cellular uptake, hydrophilic cell-penetrating peptides are able to traverse biological membranes in a non-endocytic mode termed transduction, resulting in immediate bioavailability. Here we analysed structural requirements for the non-endocytic uptake mode of arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides, by a combination of live-cell microscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and analytical ultracentrifugation. We demonstrate that the transduction efficiency of arginine-rich peptides increases with higher peptide structural rigidity. Consequently, cyclic arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides showed enhanced cellular uptake kinetics relative to their linear and more flexible counterpart. We propose that guanidinium groups are forced into maximally distant positions by cyclization. This orientation increases membrane contacts leading to enhanced cell penetration.
Project description:While a wide range of experimental and commercial transfection reagents are currently available, persistent problems remain regarding their suitability for continued development. These include the transfection efficiency for difficult-to-transfect cell types and the risks of decreased cell viability that may arise from any transfection that does occur. Therefore, research is now turning toward alternative molecules that improve the toxicity profile of the gene delivery vector (GDV), while maintaining the transfection efficiency. Among them, cell-penetrating peptides, such as octa-arginine, have shown significant potential as GDVs. Their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties can be enhanced through peptidomimetic conversion, whereby a peptide is modified into a synthetic analogue that mimics its structure and/or function, but whose backbone is not solely based on α-amino acids. Using this technology, novel peptidomimetics were developed by co- and postpolymerization functionalization of substituted ethylene oxides, producing poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-based peptidomimetics termed "PEGtides". Specifically, a PEGtide of the poly(α-amino acid) oligo-arginine [poly(glycidylguanidine)] was assessed for its ability to complex and deliver a small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) using a range of cell assays and high-content analysis. PEGtide-siRNA demonstrated significantly increased internalization and gene inhibition over 24 h in Calu-3 pulmonary epithelial cells compared to commercial controls and octa-arginine-treated samples, with no evidence of toxicity. Furthermore, PEGtide-siRNA nanocomplexes can provide significant levels of gene inhibition in "difficult-to-transfect" mouse embryonic hypothalamic (mHypo N41) cells. Overall, the usefulness of this novel PEGtide for gene delivery was clearly demonstrated, establishing it as a promising candidate for continued translational research.
Project description:Peptidyl thioesters or their surrogates with C-terminal ?-branched hydrophobic amino acid residues usually exhibit poor reactivities in ligation reactions. Thus, activation using exogenous additives is required to ensure an acceptable reaction efficiency. Herein, we report a traceless ligation at Val-Xaa sites under mild thiol additive-free reaction conditions, whereby the introduction of ?-mercaptan on the C-terminal valine residue effectively activates the otherwise unreactive N-acyl-benzimidazolinone (Nbz), and enables the use of a one-pot ligation-desulfurization strategy to generate the desired peptide products. The orthogonality between ?-thiovaline-Nbz and a conventional alkyl thioester, as well as the convenient access to the former from readily available penicillamine, also allowed expedited assembly of the peptidic hormone ?-LPH and hPTH analogues, based on a kinetically controlled one-pot three-segment ligation and desulfurization strategy.
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 peptide (CPP) is a promising cargo for delivering bioactive molecules. In this study, the N terminus of VP1 from chicken anemia virus, designated as CVP1, was found to carry enriched arginine residues with ?-helix. By confocal imaging, flow cytometry and MTT assay, we identified CVP1 as a novel, safe and efficient CPP. CVP1-FITC peptide could entry different types of cells tested with dose dependence, but without cytotoxic effects. Compared with TAT-FITC peptide, the CVP1-FITC peptide showed much higher cell-penetrating activity. Moreover, CVP1 could successfully deliver ?-glycosidase, poly (I:C) and plasmid into HCT116 cells. Inhibitors and temperature sensitivity analysis further indicated that the cell-penetrating activity of CVP1 was based on ATP-dependent and caveolae-mediated endocytosis. All these data demonstrate that CVP1 has efficient cell-penetrating activity and great potential for developing a novel delivery vector.
Project description:Inverse electron-demand Diels-Alder cycloadditions (iEDDAC) between tetrazines and strained alkenes/alkynes have emerged as essential tools for studying and manipulating biomolecules. A light-triggered version of iEDDAC (photo-iEDDAC) is presented that confers spatio-temporal control to bioorthogonal labeling in?vitro and in?cellulo. A cyclopropenone-caged dibenzoannulated bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne probe (photo-DMBO) was designed that is unreactive towards tetrazines before light-activation, but engages in iEDDAC after irradiation at 365?nm. Aminoacyl tRNA synthetase/tRNA pairs were discovered for efficient site-specific incorporation of tetrazine-containing amino acids into proteins in living cells. In?situ light activation of photo-DMBO conjugates allows labeling of tetrazine-modified proteins in living E.?coli. This allows proteins in living cells to be modified in a spatio-temporally controlled manner and may be extended to photo-induced and site-specific protein labeling in animals.