Naturally derived cell-penetrating peptides and applications in gene regulation : A study on internalization mechanisms and endosomal escape
Cell-penetrating peptides are a class of peptides which have achieved a lot of recognition due to their vector abilities. Since their discovery over a decade ago, there has been an uncertainty concerning the mechanism by which they are internalized into the cells. Early studies claimed the uptake to be receptor- and energy independent, whereas more recent studies have shifted the general view to a more endocytotic belief, without prior binding to a receptor. As an increasing amount of reports emerges claiming the uptake to be endocytic, there is still a discrepancy concerning which endocytic mechanism that is responsible for the internalization and how to exploit the endocytic machinery for improved delivery.The main aim of this thesis was to elucidate the internalization mechanism for a series of cell-penetrating peptides derived from naturally occurring proteins, such as the prion protein which is thought to be the infectious particle in prion disorders. Furthermore, applications in gene regulation and improvement of delivery efficacy by induction of endosomolysis were examined.The results obtained confirm the uptake of cell-penetrating peptides to be endocytic; however the internalization mechanism appears to be peptide dependent where macropinocytosis is the most widespread endocytic component responsible for the internalization. The results further demonstrate that the biological response can be increased manifold by the induction of endosomolysis, either by using lysosomotropic agents or peptides able to alter their secondary structure upon protonation with concomitant endosomolysis. Altogether the results prove that enhanced delivery using cell-penetrating peptides can be achieved by exploiting the intrinsic endocytic mechanisms involved in the translocation process.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:MEDICINE; Chemistry; Neurochemistry; peptide; oligonucleotide; endocytosis; gene regulation
Date of Publication:01/01/2006