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Biochemistry. 2013 Feb 19;52(7):1171-8. doi: 10.1021/bi301647y. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Antiproliferative effect of pHLIP-amanitin.

Author information

1
Physics Department, University of Rhode Island, 2 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA.

Abstract

Toxins could be effective anticancer drugs, if their selective delivery into cancer cells could be achieved. We have shown that the energy of membrane-associated folding of water-soluble membrane peptides of the pHLIP (pH low insertion peptide) family could be used to move cell-impermeable cargo across the lipid bilayer into the cytoplasm of cancer cells. Here we present the results of a study of pHLIP-mediated cellular delivery of a polar cell-impermeable toxin, α-amanitin, an inhibitor of RNA polymerase II. We show that pHLIP can deliver α-amanitin into cells in a pH-dependent fashion and induce cell death within 48 h. Translocation capability could be tuned by conjugating amanitin to the C-terminus of pHLIP via linkers of different hydrophobicities that could be cleaved in the cytoplasm. pHLIP-SPDP-amanitin, which exhibits 4-5 times higher antiproliferative ability at pH 6 than at pH 7.4, was selected as the best construct. The major mechanism of amanitin delivery is direct translocation (flip) across a membrane by pHLIP and cleavage of the S-S bond in the cytoplasm. The antiproliferative effect was monitored on four different human cancer cell lines. pHLIP-mediated cytoplasmic delivery of amanitin could create great opportunities to use the toxin as a potent pH-selective anticancer agent, which predominantly targets highly proliferative cancer cells at low extracellular pH values.

PMID:
23360641
PMCID:
PMC3580847
DOI:
10.1021/bi301647y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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