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Scientists tailor cell surface targeting system to hit organelle ZIP codes
Date:4/17/2012

ZIP Codes in the vascular system to identify molecular targets and the ligands that can be used to selectively hit them.

They developed engineered viral particles, called phage, and packaged them with massive peptide libraries. When injected, these phage/peptide combinations bind to specific receptors in the blood vessels and organs. Cells are then fractionated and analyzed to discover which ligands bind to specific surface proteins.

Arap, Pasqualini and their colleagues have a number of targeted drugs in various stages of development based on screening and then delivery with the combinatorial particles.

The team wondered whether packaging the particles with penetratin, which is known to cross membranes without requiring a cellular receptor, would allow their technology to work inside of cells. "Penetratin makes a little bubble on the cell surface and the bubble goes in through the membrane," Arap said.

They dubbed the combination of penetratin and phage particles "internalizing phage," or iPhage. In a series of experiments, the team found:

  • iPhage successfully entered normal and malignant cells in both mouse and human cell lines while the engineered phage alone, or phage packaged with mutated penetratin, did not gain entry.
  • Connecting iPhage with the mitochondria localization signal (MLS) peptide resulted in a 10-fold concentration of MLS-iPhage in mitochondria compared to simple iPhage, showing that specific organelles could be targeted.
  • To screen for new ligands that might target specific organelles, they attached a random peptide library to iPhage particles and treated the KS1767 cells. Subsequent analysis found the peptide that binds to RPL29.
  • Packaged with penetratin, this "internalizing homing peptide" with the ungainly name YKWYYRGAA killed 75 percent of cells in culture while the peptide alone or penetratin alone killed virtually none.
  • Signs of apoptotic, autophagic and necrotic cell death
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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