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Protein Pept Lett. 2010 Dec;17(12):1480-8.

Nucleolar localization signals of LIM kinase 2 function as a cell-penetrating peptide.

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Institute for Advanced Sciences, Toagosei Co., Ltd., Tsukuba 300-2611, Japan.


LIM Kinase 2 (LIMK2) is a LIM domain-containing protein kinase which regulates actin polymerization thorough phosphorylation of the actin depolymerizing factor cofilin. It is also known to function as a shuttle between the cytoplasm and nucleus in endothelial cells. A basic amino acid-rich motif in LIMK2 was previously identified to be responsible for this shuttling function, as a nucleolar localization signal (NoLS). Here it is shown that this nucleolar localization signal sequence also has the characteristic function of a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP). We synthesized LIMK2 NoLS-conjugated peptides and a protein and analyzed their cell-penetrating abilities in various types of cells. The BC-box motif of the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein was used for the peptide. This motif previously has been reported to be involved in the neural differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells and skin-derived precursor cells. Green fluorescence protein (GFP) was used as a large biologically active biomolecule for the protein. The LIMK2 NoLS-conjugated peptides and protein translocated across the cell membranes of fibroblast cells, neural stem cells, and even iPS cells. These results suggest that LIMK2 NoLS acts as a cell-penetrating peptide and its cell-penetrating ability is not restricted by cell type. Moreover, from an in vivo assay using a mouse brain, it was confirmed that NoLS has potential for transporting biomolecules across the blood-brain barrier.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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