Targeting a c-Myc inhibitory polypeptide to specific intracellular compartments using cell penetrating peptides.
ABSTRACT The therapeutic index of current anti-cancer chemotherapeutics can be improved by two major mechanisms: 1) developing drugs which are specifically toxic to the cancer cells and 2) developing methods to deliver drugs to the tumor site. In an attempt to combine these approaches, we developed a thermally responsive polypeptide inhibitor of c-Myc. This polypeptide is based on the thermally responsive Elastin-like polypeptide (ELP). When injected systemically, ELP-fused drugs will aggregate and accumulate at the tumor site where local hyperthermia is applied. ELP was fused to a peptide which blocks c-Myc/Max dimerization (H1), thereby inhibiting transcription activation by c-Myc (ELP-H1). In this study, the cellular uptake, intracellular distribution, and potency of the Pen, Tat and Bac cell penetrating peptides fused to ELP-H1 were evaluated. While Pen-ELP-H1 and Tat-ELP-H1 were localized in the cytoplasm, Bac-ELP-H1 localized to the nucleus in a subset of the cells and was the most potent inhibitor of MCF-7 cell proliferation. This data demonstrates that ELP can be targeted to the desired cellular compartment simply by choice of the CPP used, resulting in a more potent nuclear targeted c-Myc inhibitory polypeptide which may be beneficial in cancer therapy.
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ABSTRACT: The last several decades have seen intensive research into the molecular mechanisms underlying the symptoms of preeclampsia. While the underlying cause of preeclampsia is believed to be defective placental development and resulting placental ischemia, it is only recently that the links between the ischemic placenta and maternal symptomatic manifestation have been elucidated. Several different pathways have been implicated in the development of the disorder; most notably production of the anti-angiogenic protein sFlt-1, induction of auto-immunity and inflammation, and production of reactive oxygen species. While the molecular mechanisms are becoming clearer, translating that knowledge into effective therapeutics has proven elusive. Here we describe a number of peptide based therapies we have developed to target theses pathways, and which are currently being tested in preclinical models. These therapeutics are based on a synthetic polymeric carrier elastin-like polypeptide (ELP), which can be synthesized in various sequences and sizes to stabilize the therapeutic peptide and avoid crossing the placental interface. This prevents fetal exposure and potential developmental effects. The therapeutics designed will target known pathogenic pathways, and the ELP carrier could prove to be a versatile delivery system for administration of a variety of therapeutics during pregnancy.Frontiers in Pharmacology 09/2014; 5:201. DOI:10.3389/fphar.2014.00201
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ABSTRACT: Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs) are functional proteins or regions that do not have unique 3D structures under functional conditions. Therefore, from the viewpoint of their lack of stable 3D structure, IDPs/IDPRs are inherently unstable. As much as structure and function of normal ordered globular proteins are determined by their amino acid sequences, the lack of unique 3D structure in IDPs/IDPRs and their disorder-based functionality are also encoded in the amino acid sequences. Because of their specific sequence features and distinctive conformational behavior, these intrinsically unstable proteins or regions have several applications in biotechnology. This review introduces some of the most characteristic features of IDPs/IDPRs (such as peculiarities of amino acid sequences of these proteins and regions, their major structural features, and peculiar responses to changes in their environment) and describes how these features can be used in the biotechnology, for example for the proteome-wide analysis of the abundance of extended IDPs, for recombinant protein isolation and purification, as polypeptide nanoparticles for drug delivery, as solubilization tools, and as thermally sensitive carriers of active peptides and proteins.Biotechnology Journal 10/2014; 10(3). DOI:10.1002/biot.201400374 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Current therapies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer are limited. The limitations of this type of treatment are abundant. The majority of chemotherapeutic agents used in clinics are highly toxic to both tumor cells and normal tissues due to the lack of specificity. Resistance can develop due to overexposure of these agents. To address these issues, these agents must be made more exclusive toward the tumor site. We have developed a macromolecular carrier based on the sequence of the biopolymer elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) that is able to aggregate upon reaching the externally heated tumor environment. This carrier is specific to the tumor as it only aggregates at the heated tumor site. ELP is soluble below its transition temperature but will aggregate when the temperature is raised above its transition temperature. ELP was modified by p21, a cell cycle inhibitory peptide, and the addition of Bac, a cell-penetrating peptide with nuclear localization capabilities. In this study, p21-ELP-Bac and its control, ELP-p21, were used in cell proliferation studies using the pancreatic cancer cell lines Panc-1, MiaPaca-2, and S2013. ELP-p21 had little effect on proliferation, while the half maximal inhibitory concentration of p21-ELP-Bac was ∼30 μM. As translocation across the plasma membrane is a limiting step for delivery of macromolecules, these polypeptides were utilized in a pancreatic xenograft model to study the plasma clearance, biodistribution, tumor accumulation, and tumor reduction capabilities of the polypeptide with and without a cell-penetrating peptide.Drug Design, Development and Therapy 10/2014; 8:1649-58. DOI:10.2147/DDDT.S60451 · 3.03 Impact Factor