The uptake of arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides: putting the puzzle together
SourceBioconjugate Chemistry, 25, 5, (2014), pp. 863-868
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 19: Nanomedicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Over the past 20 years, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have captured the attention of biomedical researchers, biophysicists, and (bio)organic chemists. These molecules efficiently enter cells and mediate entry of (macro)molecules that by themselves do not cross the plasma membrane. Since their discovery, models on the mechanism by which uptake occurs have seen major revisions. Starting from direct penetration across the plasma membrane, it later became apparent that for large molecular weight cargos in particular, endocytosis plays a role in uptake and furthermore that the route of uptake is a function of CPP, cell-type, cargo, and concentration. For the class of arginine-rich CPPs, this dependence on conditions has been elucidated in particular. As I will discuss here for this class of CPPs, a downside of this multitude of possibilities has been a lack of attention for commonalities in the observation of apparently distinct phenomena. At the same time, differences of apparently similar observations were not appreciated sufficiently. In addition, there has been insufficient acknowledgment of observations that are incompatible with the proposed models. Nevertheless, a considerable amount of data can be assembled into a quite coherent picture and the data that is left creates the basis for concrete future lines of research to resolve the questions that remain. Moreover, any uptake mechanism has its distinct structure-activity relationship for uptake giving room for the molecular design of molecules to preferentially direct uptake to either of them.
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