A cell-penetrating peptide derived from human lactoferrin with conformation-dependent uptake efficiency.
SourceJournal of Biological Chemistry, 284, 52, (2009), pp. 36099-108
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Biological Chemistry
SubjectBiophysical Chemistry; NCMLS 2: Immune Regulation; NCMLS 7: Chemical and physical biology; ONCOL 3: Translational research; ONCOL 3: Translational research
The molecular events that contribute to the cellular uptake of cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) are still a matter of intense research. Here, we report on the identification and characterization of a 22-amino acid CPP derived from the human milk protein, lactoferrin. The peptide exhibits a conformation-dependent uptake efficiency that is correlated with efficient binding to heparan sulfate and lipid-induced conformational changes. The peptide contains a disulfide bridge formed by terminal cysteine residues. At concentrations exceeding 10 mum, this peptide undergoes the same rapid entry into the cytoplasm that was described previously for the arginine-rich CPPs nona-arginine and Tat. Cytoplasmic entry strictly depends on the presence of the disulfide bridge. To better understand this conformation dependence, NMR spectroscopy was performed for the free peptide, and CD measurements were performed for free and lipid-bound peptide. In solution, the peptides showed only slight differences in secondary structure, with a predominantly disordered structure both in the presence and absence of the disulfide bridge. In contrast, in complex with large unilamellar vesicles, the conformation of the oxidized and reduced forms of the peptide clearly differed. Moreover, surface plasmon resonance experiments showed that the oxidized form binds to heparan sulfate with a considerably higher affinity than the reduced form. Consistently, membrane binding and cellular uptake of the peptide were reduced when heparan sulfate chains were removed.
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