The CPP Tat enhances eGFP cell internalization and transepithelial transport by the larval midgut of Bombyx mori (Lepidoptera, Bombycidae)
ABSTRACT Cell-Penetrating Peptides (CPPs) are short peptides that are able to translocate across the cell membrane a wide range of cargoes. In the past decade, different mammalian cell lines have been used to clarify the mechanism of CPPs penetration and to characterize the internalization process, which has been described either as an energy-independent direct penetration through the plasma membrane, or as endocytic uptake. Whatever the mechanism involved, the cell penetration properties of these peptides make their use very attractive as vector for promoting the cellular uptake of coupled bioactive macromolecules, such as peptides, proteins and oligonucleotides. Here we demonstrate, for the first time in insect, that cultured columnar cells from the larval midgut of Bombyx mori more readily internalize eGFP (enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein) when fused to CPP Tat. Tat-eGFP translocates across the plasma membrane of absorptive cells in an energy-independent and non-endocytic manner, since no inhibition of the fusion protein uptake is exerted by metabolic inhibitors and by drugs that interfere with the endocytic uptake. Moreover, the CPP Tat enhances the internalization of eGFP in the columnar cells of intact midgut tissue, mounted in a suitable perfusion apparatus, and the transepithelial flux of the protein. These results open new perspectives for effective delivery of insecticidal macromolecules targeting receptors located both within the insect gut epithelium and behind the gut barrier, in the hemocoel compartment.
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ABSTRACT: Most bioactive macromolecules, such as protein, DNA and RNA, basically cannot permeate into cells freely from outside the plasma membrane. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are a group of short peptides that possess the ability to traverse the cell membrane and have been considered as candidates for mediating gene and drug delivery into living cells. In this study, we demonstrate that three arginine-rich CPPs (SR9, HR9 and PR9) are able to form stable complexes with plasmid DNA and deliver DNA into insect Sf9 cells in a noncovalent manner. The transferred plasmid DNA containing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and red fluorescent protein (RFP) coding regions could be expressed in cells functionally assayed at both the protein and RNA levels. Furthermore, treatment of cells with CPPs and CPP/DNA complexes resulted in a viability of 84-93% indicating these CPPs are not cytotoxic. These results suggest that arginine-rich CPPs appear to be a promising tool for insect transgenesis.Gene 12/2011; 493(2):201-10. DOI:10.1016/j.gene.2011.11.060 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several important areas of interest intersect in a class of peptides characterized by their highly cationic and partly hydrophobic structure. These molecules have been called cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) because they possess the ability to translocate across cell membranes. This ability makes these peptides attractive candidates for delivery of therapeutic compounds, especially to the interior of cells. Compounds with characteristics similar to CPPs and that, in addition, have antimicrobial properties are being investigated as antibiotics with a reduced risk of causing resistance. These CPP-like membrane-acting antimicrobial peptides (MAMPs) are α-helical amphipathic peptides that interact with and perturb cell membranes to produce their antimicrobial effects. One source of MAMPs is spider venom. Because these compounds are toxic to insects, they also show promise for development as biological agents for control of insecticide-resistant agricultural pests. Spider venom is a potential source of novel insect-specific peptide toxins. One example is the small amphipathic α-helical peptide lycotoxin-1 (Lyt-1 or LCTX) from the wolf spider (Lycosa carolinensis). One side of the α-helix has mostly hydrophilic and the other mainly hydrophobic amino acid residues. The positive charge of the hydrophilic side interacts with negatively charged prokaryotic membranes and the hydrophobic side associates with the membrane lipid bilayer to permeabilize it. Because the surface of the exoskeleton, or cuticle, of an insect is highly hydrophobic, to repel water and dirt, it would be expected that amphipathic compounds could permeabilize it. Mutagenized lycotoxin 1 peptides were produced and expressed in yeast cultures that were fed to fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) larvae to identify the most lethal mutants. Transgenic expression of spider venom toxins such as lycotoxin-1 in plants could provide durable insect resistance.Pharmaceuticals 12/2012; 5(10):1054-1063. DOI:10.3390/ph5101054