Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Nanomedicine. 2012;7:4533-44. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S34450. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Intracellular CXCR4⁺ cell targeting with T22-empowered protein-only nanoparticles.

Author information

Institut de Biotecnologia i de Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.



Cell-targeting peptides or proteins are appealing tools in nanomedicine and innovative medicines because they increase the local drug concentration and reduce potential side effects. CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is a cell surface marker associated with several severe human pathologies, including colorectal cancer, for which intracellular targeting agents are currently missing.


Four different peptides that bind CXCR4 were tested for their ability to internalize a green fluorescent protein-based reporter nanoparticle into CXCR4⁺ cells. Among them, only the 18 mer peptide T22, an engineered segment derivative of polyphemusin II from the horseshoe crab, efficiently penetrated target cells via a rapid, receptor-specific endosomal route. This resulted in accumulation of the reporter nanoparticle in a fully fluorescent and stable form in the perinuclear region of the target cells, without toxicity either in cell culture or in an in vivo model of metastatic colorectal cancer.


Given the urgent demand for targeting agents in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of CXCR4-linked diseases, including colorectal cancer and human immunodeficiency virus infection, T22 appears to be a promising tag for the intracellular delivery of protein drugs, nanoparticles, and imaging agents.


CXCR4; colorectal cancer; intracellular targeting; nanoparticles; peptide tag; self-assembling

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dove Medical Press Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center