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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Nov 21;97(24):13003-8.

The design, synthesis, and evaluation of molecules that enable or enhance cellular uptake: peptoid molecular transporters.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Chemistry and Neurology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5080, USA. wenderp@leland.stanford.edu

Abstract

Certain proteins contain subunits that enable their active translocation across the plasma membrane into cells. In the specific case of HIV-1, this subunit is the basic domain Tat(49-57) (RKKRRQRRR). To establish the optimal structural requirements for this translocation process, and thereby to develop improved molecular transporters that could deliver agents into cells, a series of analogues of Tat(49-57) were prepared and their cellular uptake into Jurkat cells was determined by flow cytometry. All truncated and alanine-substituted analogues exhibited diminished cellular uptake, suggesting that the cationic residues of Tat(49-57) play a principal role in its uptake. Charge alone, however, is insufficient for transport as oligomers of several cationic amino acids (histidine, lysine, and ornithine) are less effective than Tat(49-57) in cellular uptake. In contrast, a 9-mer of l-arginine (R9) was 20-fold more efficient than Tat(49-57) at cellular uptake as determined by Michaelis-Menton kinetic analysis. The d-arginine oligomer (r9) exhibited an even greater uptake rate enhancement (>100-fold). Collectively, these studies suggest that the guanidinium groups of Tat(49-57) play a greater role in facilitating cellular uptake than either charge or backbone structure. Based on this analysis, we designed and synthesized a class of polyguanidine peptoid derivatives. Remarkably, the subset of peptoid analogues containing a six-methylene spacer between the guanidine head group and backbone (N-hxg), exhibited significantly enhanced cellular uptake compared to Tat(49-57) and even to r9. Overall, a transporter has been developed that is superior to Tat(49-57), protease resistant, and more readily and economically prepared.

PMID:
11087855
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC27168
Free PMC Article

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