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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Mar;1758(3):264-79. Epub 2006 Jan 30.

Mechanistic aspects of CPP-mediated intracellular drug delivery: relevance of CPP self-assembly.

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  • 1Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Josep Samitier 1-5, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.


In recent years, cell-penetrating peptides have proven to be an efficient intracellular delivery system. The mechanism for CPP internalisation, which first involves interaction with the extracellular matrix, is followed in most cases by endocytosis and finally, depending on the type of endocytosis, an intracellular fate is reached. Delivery of cargo attached to a CPP requires endosomal release, for which different methods have recently been proposed. Positively charged amino acids, hydrophobicity and/or amphipathicity are common to CPPs. Moreover, some CPPs can self-assemble. Herein is discussed the role of self assembly in the cellular uptake of CPPs. Sweet Arrow Peptide (SAP) CPP has been shown to aggregate by CD and TEM (freeze-fixation/freeze-drying), although the internalised species have yet to be identified as either the monomer or an aggregate.

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