Targeting a c-Myc inhibitory polypeptide to specific intracellular compartments using cell penetrating peptides.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216, USA.
Journal of Controlled Release (Impact Factor: 7.26). 12/2008; 135(1):2-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.11.015
Source: PubMed

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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