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Mol Ther. 2009 Nov;17(11):1868-76. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.192. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

Cell-surface accumulation of flock house virus-derived peptide leads to efficient internalization via macropinocytosis.

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  • 1Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat (48-60) and oligoarginines, have been applied as carriers for delivery of cargo molecules, because of their capacity to internalize into cells and penetrate biological membranes. Despite the fact that they have been extensively studied, the factors required for the efficient internalization of CPPs are still unclear. In this report, we evaluated the internalization efficiencies of seven CPPs derived from DNA/RNA-binding peptides, and discovered that a peptide derived from the flock house virus (FHV) coat protein was internalized most efficiently into Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1), HeLa, and Jurkat cells. Comparison of the factors facilitating the internalization with those of the Tat peptide revealed that the FHV peptide induces macropinocytosis much more efficiently than the Tat peptide, which leads to its high cellular uptake efficiency. Additionally, the strong adsorption of the FHV peptide on cell membranes via glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) was shown to be a key factor for induction of macropinocytosis, and these steps were successfully monitored by live imaging of the peptide internalization into cells in relation to the actin organization. The remarkable methods of FHV peptide internalization thus highlighted the critical factors for internalizations of the arginine-rich CPPs.

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