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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2000 Mar;21(3):99-103.

Cell-penetrating peptides.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry and Neurotoxicology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


The established view in cellular biology dictates that the cellular internalization of hydrophilic macromolecules can only be achieved through the classical endocytosis pathway. However, in the past five years several peptides have been demonstrated to translocate across the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells by a seemingly energy-independent pathway. These peptides have been used successfully for the intracellular delivery of macromolecules with molecular weights several times greater than their own. Cellular delivery using these cell-penetrating peptides offers several advantages over conventional techniques because it is efficient for a range of cell types, can be applied to cells en masse and has a potential therapeutic application.

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