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Mol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct;76(4):918-26. doi: 10.1124/mol.109.058412. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

A novel tumor-targeted therapy using a claudin-4-targeting molecule.

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Laboratory of Bio-Functional Molecular Chemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Carcinogenesis is often accompanied by dysfunctional tight junction (TJs), resulting in the loss of cellular polarity. Claudin, a tetra-transmembrane protein, plays a pivotal role in the barrier and fence functions of TJs. Claudin-4 is deregulated in various cancers, including breast, prostate, ovarian, and gastric cancer. Claudin-4 may be a promising target molecule for tumor therapy, but the claudin-targeting strategy has never been fully developed. In the present study, we prepared a claudin-4-targeting molecule by fusion of the C-terminal fragment of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (C-CPE) with the protein synthesis inhibitory factor (PSIF) derived from Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin. PSIF was not cytotoxic to claudin-4-expressing cells, whereas C-CPE-PSIF was cytotoxic. Cells that express claudin-1, -2, and -5 were less sensitive to C-CPE-PSIF. Pretreatment of the cells with C-CPE attenuated C-CPE-PSIF-induced cytotoxicity, and mutation of C-CPE in the claudin-4-binding residues attenuated the cytotoxicity of C-CPE-PSIF. TJ-undeveloped cells were more sensitive to C-CPE-PSIF than TJ-developed cells. It is noteworthy that polarized epithelial cells are sensitive to C-CPE-PSIF applied to the basal side, whereas the cells were less sensitive to C-CPE-PSIF applied to the apical side. Intratumoral injection of C-CPE-PSIF reduced tumor growth. This is the first report to indicate that a claudin-4-targeting strategy may be a promising method to overcome the malignant tumors.

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