The use of micelle aggregates formed from peptide amphiphiles (PAs) as potential synthetic self-adjuvant vaccines to treat Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection are reported here. The PAs were based on epitopes gB409-505 and gD301-309, selected from HSV envelope glycoprotein B (gB) and glycoprotein D (gD), that had their N-terminus modified with hydrophobic moieties containing two C18 hydrocarbon chains. Pure and mixed micelles of gB and/or gD peptide epitopes were easily prepared after starting with the synthesis of corresponding PAs by solid phase methods. Structural characterization of the aggregates confirmed that they were sufficiently stable and compatible with in vivo use: critical micelle concentration values around 4.0 ? 10(-7) mol ? Kg(-1); hydrodynamic radii (RH) between 50-80 nm, and a zeta potential (?) around - 40 mV were found for all aggregates. The in vitro results indicate that both peptide epitopes and micelles, at 10 ?M, triggered U937 and RAW 264.7 cells to release appreciable levels of cytokines. In particular, interleukin (IL)-23-, IL-6-, IL-8- or macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2-, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-?-release increased considerably when cells were treated with the gB-micelles or gD-micelles compared with the production of the same cytokines when the stimulus was the single gB or gD peptide.
Active targeting by means of drug encapsulated nanoparticles decorated with targeting bioactive moieties represents the next frontier in drug delivery; it reduces drug side effects and increases the therapeutic index. Peptides, based on their chemical and biological properties, could have a prevalent role to direct drug encapsulated nanoparticles, such as liposomes, micelles, or hard nanoparticles, toward the tumor tissues. A considerable number of molecular targets for peptides are either exclusively expressed or overexpressed on both cancer vasculature and cancer cells. They can be classified into three wide categories: integrins; growth factor receptors (GFRs); and G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Therapeutic agents based on nanovectors decorated with peptides targeting membrane receptors belonging to the GPCR family overexpressed by cancer cells are reviewed in this article. The most studied targeting membrane receptors are considered: somatostatin receptors; cholecystokinin receptors; receptors associated with the Bombesin like peptides family; luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone receptors; and neurotensin receptors. Nanovectors of different sizes and shapes (micelles, liposomes, or hard nanoparticles) loaded with doxorubicin or other cytotoxic drugs and externally functionalized with natural or synthetic peptides are able to target the overexpressed receptors and are described based on their formulation and in vitro and in vivo behaviors.
Owing to the large panel of biological functions of peptides and their high specificity and potency, the development of peptide-based therapeutic and diagnostic tools has received increasing interest. Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) are an emerging class of molecules in which a bioactive peptide is covalently conjugated to a hydrophobic moiety. Due to the coexistence in the molecule of a hydrophilic peptide sequence and a hydrophobic group, PAs are able to self-assemble spontaneously into a variety of nanostructures, such as monolayers, bilayers, and vesicles. In this work we have synthesized a disordered peptide, henceforth called R11, and two lipophilic derivatives of R11 bearing two alkyl chains, connected or not to R11 by an ethoxylic-based linker. The structural properties in solution of these new PAs were investigated using CD and NMR. R11 lipophilic derivatives display typical features of PAs, such as the formation of micelles and unilamellar vesicles. In addition, their surface properties were studied using Langmuir monomolecular films and the results obtained support the formation of molecular aggregates upon compression of the PA films. The presence of the alkyl chains induces not only the self-assembly of these new PAs into supramolecular aggregates but also a gain of structure within the disordered peptide.
The synthesis, formulation and a complete physico-chemical characterization, by dynamic light scattering and small angle neutron scattering techniques, of new liposomal aggregates obtained by co-assembling an amphiphilic molecule containing a platinum complex, Peg1500 -Lys(Pt-aminoEtGly)-Lys(C18)2, (abbreviated as (C18)2-PKAG-Pt), with a second amphiphilic monomer, (C18H37)2NCO(CH2)2CO(AdOO)5-Oct ((C18)2 L5-Oct), containing the octreotide bioactive peptide, is reported. Liposomes of (C18)2-PKAG-Pt present a radius of 48 nm, whereas the mixed aggregates (C18)2-PKAG-Pt/(C18)2L5-Oct at 90/10 M ratio give larger liposomes with a radius of 84 nm. In both cases, the bilayer thickness is ~5.3 nm. Encapsulation of doxorubicin in mixed liposomes is also obtained by using the pH gradient method. The obtained liposomes could represent a new target selective cargo system for delivery of cisplatin based drugs and/or doxorubicin on cells overexpressing the sstr2 and sstr5 somatostatin receptors.
Nanoparticles have attracted much attention for their potential application as in vivo carriers of drugs. Labeling of nanoparticles with bioactive markers that are able to direct them toward specific biological target receptors has led to a new generation of drug delivery systems. In particular, low molecular weight peptides that remain stable in vivo could be promising tools to selectively drive nanoparticles loaded with active components to tumor cells. We reported, recently, that tetrabranched neurotensin peptides (NT4) may be used to selectively target tumor cells with liposomes. Liposomes functionalized with tetrabranched neurotensin peptide, NT4, and loaded with doxorubicin showed clear advantages in cell binding, anthracyclin internalization, and cytotoxicity in respect of not functionalized liposomes. In this study, we compare branched (NT4) versus linear (NT) peptides in the ability to drive liposomes to target cells and deliver their toxic cargo. We showed here that the more densely decorated liposomes had a better activity profile in terms of drug delivery. Presentation of peptides to the cell membranes in the grouped shape provided by branched structure facilitates liposome cell binding and fusion.
The interaction between cisplatin and an 18-residue CCHC zinc finger motif derived from a retroviral nucleocapsid protein (PyrZf18) has been studied using UV-visible, CD and (1)H NMR spectroscopies and ESI-MS spectrometry. Cisplatin irreversibly blocks the cysteine zinc binding groups in the free peptide and is able to slowly eject zinc from the zinc-peptide complex. The observed end product of the reaction with cisplatin is a complex in which only one ammonia molecule is coordinated to platinum. After an initial binding with two cysteine residues and the formation of the (PyrZf18)-platinum-(NH3)2 complex, a release of one ammonia molecule occurs because of trans-labilization, and the third cysteine is coordinated, leading to a mixture of isomers and/or conformers of the (PyrZf18)-platinum-NH3 complex. The results are discussed with respect to the potential antiretroviral activity of platinum(II) compounds and to the possible interaction of cisplatin with the cellular nucleic acid binding proteins.
Specific overexpression of cholecystokinin 2 (CCK2)/gastrin receptors has been demonstrated in several tumours of neuroendocrine origin. In some of these cancer types, such as medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), a sensitive diagnostic modality is still unavailable and therapeutic options for inoperable lesions are needed. Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) may be a viable therapeutic strategy in the management of these patients. Several CCK2R-targeted radiopharmaceuticals have been described in recent years. As part of the European Union COST Action BM0607 we studied the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of 12 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-conjugated CCK2R binding peptides. In the present study, we analysed binding and internalization characteristics. Stability, biodistribution and imaging studies have been performed in parallel by other centres involved in the project.
The development of suitable radioligands for targeting CCK-2 receptor expressing tumors, such as medullary thyroid carcinoma, is of great clinical interest. In the search for the best CCK-2R binding peptides, we have synthesized, evaluated and compared the CCK8 peptide (Asp-Tyr-Met-Gly-Trp-Met-Asp-Phe?NH(2) ) and two gastrin analogs commonly referred to as MG0 (DGlu-Glu(5)-Ala-Tyr-Gly-Trp-Met-Asp-Phe?NH(2) ) and MG11 (DGlu(1)-Ala-Tyr-Gly-Trp-Met-Asp-Phe?NH(2) ). The N-terminal portion of the three peptide sequences was derivatized by introducing the DTPAGlu or DOTA chelators to allow radiolobeling with (111) In(III) and (68) Ga(III), respectively. Saturation binding and cellular internalization experiments were performed on A431 cells overexpressing CCK2R (A431-CCK2R). All compounds showed Kd values in the nM range and were internalized with similar rates in CCK2 receptor overexpressing cells. Biodistribution experiments showed higher specific uptake of both MG0-based compounds compared to conjugates containing the CCK8 and MG11 peptide sequences. The higher retention levels of MG0-based peptides were associated with markedly elevated and undesired kidney uptake compared to the other compounds. Current indications suggest that the 5 Glu N-terminal residues while improving peptide stability and receptor-mediated tumor uptake cause unacceptably high kidney retention. Although displaying lower absolute tumor uptake values, the DOTA-coupled CCK8 peptide provided the best tumor to kidney uptake ratio and appears more suitable as lead compound for improvement of radiopharmaceutical properties.
Modified supramolecular aggregates for selective delivery of contrast agents and/or drugs are examined with a focus on a new class of peptide-derivatized nanoparticles: naposomes. These nanoparticles are based on the co-aggregation of two different amphiphilic monomers that give aggregates of different shapes and sizes (micelles, vesicles and liposomes) with diameters ranging between 10 and 300 nm. Structural properties and in vitro and in vivo behaviors are discussed. For the high relaxitivity values (12-19 mM(-1)s(-1)) and to detect for the presence of a surface-exposed peptide, the new peptide-derived supramolecular aggregates are very promising candidates as target-selective MRI contrast agents. The efficiency of surface-exposed peptides in homing these nanovectors to a specific target introduces promising new opportunities for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents with high specificity toward the biological target and reduced toxic side effects on nontarget organs.
The structure and the in vitro behavior of liposomes filled with the cytotoxic drug doxorubicin (Doxo) and functionalized on the external surface with a branched moiety containing four copies of the 8-13 neurotensin (NT) peptide is reported. The new functionalized liposomes, DOPC-NT?Lys(C??)?, are obtained by co-aggregation of the DOPC phospholipid with a new synthetic amphiphilic molecule, NT? Lys(C??)?, which contains a lysine scaffold derivatized with a lipophilic moiety and a tetrabranched hydrophilic peptide, NT8-13, a neurotensin peptide fragment well known for its ability to mimic the neurotensin peptide in receptor binding ability. Dynamic light scattering measurements indicate a value for the hydrodynamic radius (RH) of 88.3±4.4?nm. The selective internalization and cytotoxicity of DOPC-NT? Lys(C??)? liposomes containing Doxo, as compared to pure DOPC liposomes, were tested in HT29 human colon adenocarcinoma and TE671 human rhabdomyosarcoma cells, both of which express neurotensin receptors. Peptide-functionalized liposomes show a clear advantage in comparison to pure DOPC liposomes with regard to drug internalization in both HT29 and TE671 tumor cells: FACS analysis indicates an increase in fluorescence signal of the NT?-liposomes, compared to the DOPC pure analogues, in both cell lines; cytotoxicity of DOPC-NT? Lys(C??)?-Doxo liposomes is increased four-fold with respect to DOPC-Doxo liposomes in both HT29 and TE671 cell lines. These effects could to be ascribed to the higher rate of internalization for DOPC-NT? Lys(C??)?-Doxo liposomes, due to stronger binding driven by a lower dissociation constant of the NT?-liposomes that bind the membrane onto a specific protein, in contrast to DOPC liposomes, which approach the plasma membrane unselectively.
Supramolecular aggregates obtained by self-aggregation of five new cationic amphiphilic CCK8 peptides have been obtained in water solution and characterized for: (i) aggregate structure and stability; (ii) CCK8 peptide conformation and bioavailability on the external aggregate surface; and (iii) for their cell binding properties. The cationic amphiphilic CCK8 peptides self-aggregate giving a combination of liposomal and micelle structures, with radii ranging between ~60 nm and ~90 nm, and between ~5 and ~10 nm, respectively. The presence of CCK8 peptide well-exposed on the aggregate surface is demonstrated by fluorescence measurements. Peptide conformation changes in the five supramolecular aggregates: the CCK8 conformational behaviour is probably induced by the presence of three charged lysine residues close to the bioactive peptide sequence. Only aggregates in which the CCK8 peptide presents a structural arrangement similar to that found for the same peptide in DPC micelles give promising binding properties to CCK2-R receptors overexpressed by transfected A431 cells. Chemical modifications on the CCK8 N-terminus seem to play an important role in stabilizing the peptide active conformation, either when the peptide derivative is in monomeric or in aggregate form. For their easy preparation procedures and their binding properties, supramolecular aggregates based on cationic peptide amphiphiles can be considered as promising candidates for target selective drug carriers on cancer cells.
New mixed nanoparticles were obtained by self-aggregation of two amphiplic monomers. The first monomer (C18)(2) L5-Oct contains two C18 hydrophobic moieties bound to the N-terminus of the cyclic peptide octreotide, and spaced from the bioactive peptide by five units of dioxoethylene linkers. The second monomer, (C18)(2) DTPAGlu, (C18)(2) DTPA or (C18)(2) DOTA, and the corresponding Gd(III) complexes, contains two C18 hydrophobic moieties bound through a lysine residue to different polyamino-polycarboxy ligands: DTPAGlu, DTPA or DOTA. Mixed aggregates have been obtained and structurally characterized by small angle neutron scattering (SANS) techniques and for their relaxometric behavior. According to a decrease of negative charges in the surfactant head-group, a total or a partial micelle-to-vesicle transition is observed by passing from (C18)(2) DTPAGlu to (C18)(2) DOTA. The thicknesses of the bilayers are substantially constant, around 50 Å, in the analyzed systems. Moreover, the mixed aggregates, in which a small amount of amphiphilic octreotide monomer (C18)(2) L5-Oct (10% mol/mol) was inserted, do not differ significantly from the respective self-assembled systems. Fluorescence emission of tryptophan residue at 340 nm indicates low mobility of water molecules at the peptide surface. The proton relaxivity of mixed aggregates based on (C18)(2) DTPAGlu(Gd), (C18)(2) DTPA(Gd) and (C18)(2) DOTA(Gd) resulted to be 17.6, 15.2 and 10.0 mM(-1) s(-1) (at 20 MHz and 298K), respectively. The decrease in the relaxivity values can be ascribed to the increase in ?(M) (81, 205 and 750 ns). The presence of amphiphilic octreotide monomer exposed on mixed aggregate surface gives the entire nanoparticles a potential binding selectivity toward somatostatin sstr2 receptor subtype, and these systems could act as MRI target-specific contrast agent.
The present work describes new supramolecular aggregates obtained by co-assembling two different amphiphilic molecules, one containing the bioactive bombesin peptide (BN), or a scramble sequence, and the other, the DOTA chelating agent, (C18)(2)DOTA, capable of forming stable complexes with the radioactive (111)In(III) isotope. The peptide in the amphiphilic monomer is spaced by the lipophilic moiety through ethoxylic spacers of different length: a shorter spacer with five units of dioxoethylene moieties in (C18)(2)L5-peptide, or a longer spacer consisting of a Peg3000 residue in (C18)(2)Peg3000-peptide. Structural characterization by SANS and DLS techniques indicates that, independently from the presence of the peptide containing monomer in the final composition, the predominant aggregates are liposomes of similar shape and size with a hydrodynamic radius R(h) around 200 nm and bilayer thickness, d, of 4 nm. In vitro data show specific binding of the (111)In-(C18)(2)DOTA/(C18)(2)L5-[7-14]BN 90:10 liposomes in receptor expressing cells. However, the presence of the Peg3000 unit on the external liposomal surface, could hide the peptide and prevent the receptor binding. In vivo experiments using (111)In-(C18)(2)DOTA/(C18)(2)L5-[7-14]BN show the expected biological behavior of aggregates of such size and molecular composition, moreover there is an increase in concentration of the GRPR targeting aggregate in the tumors compared to control at the 48 h time point evaluated (2.4% ID/g versus 1.6% ID/g).
New amphiphilic monomers (OCA-DTPAGlu and OCA-DOTA) containing, in the same molecule, three different functions: (i) the chelating agent (DTPAGlu or DOTA) able to coordinate gadolinium ion, (ii) the octreotide bioactive peptide able to target somatostatin receptors, and (iii) a hydrophobic moiety with two 18-carbon atoms alkyl chains have been designed and synthesized by solid-phase methods. The novel amphiphilic monomers aggregate, in water solution, giving stable micelles at very low concentration (cmc values of 2.3 x 10(-6) mol kg(-1) and 2.5 x 10(-6) mol kg(-1) for OCA-DTPAGlu and OCA-DOTA, respectively) as confirmed by fluorescence spectroscopy. Fluorescence studies and circular dichroism experiments indicate, for the two compounds as well as for their gadolinium complexes (OCA-DOTA(Gd) and OCA-DTPAGlu(Gd)), the complete exposure of octreotide on the micelle surface, and the predominant presence of an antiparallel beta-sheet peptide conformation characterized by a beta-like turn. The high relaxivity value (r(1p) = 13.9 mM(-1) s(-1) at 20 MHz and 25 degrees C), measured for micelles obtained by the gadolinium complex OCA-DTPAGlu(Gd), indicates these aggregates as promising target-selective magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents.
Two gemini surfactants, [C18CysL5CCK8](2) and [C18CysDTPAGlu](2), containing, respectively, the CCK8 peptide and the DTPAGlu chelating agent or its gadolinium complex have been prepared by linking lipophilic chains through a disulfide bond between two cysteine residues. The two surfactants aggregate in water solution forming pure or mixed micelles, with a critical micellar concentration in the 5 x 10(-6)-5 x 10(-5) mol kg(-1) range, as measured by fluorescence spectroscopy. As indicated by small-angle neutron scattering, the shape and size of the micelles are influenced by the temperature: increasing temperature leads to progressive reduction of the size of the supramolecular aggregates. Cylindrical structures found at lower temperatures (10-40 degrees C) evolve into ellipsoidal micelles at 50-80 degrees C. Furthermore, the surface-exposed CCK8 peptide changes its conformation above a transition temperature of approximately 45 degrees C, going from a beta-sheet to a random-coil structure, as indicated by circular dichroism measurements. The mixed aggregate obtained by coaggregation of the two gemini-based amphiphilic compounds, [C18CysDTPAGlu(Gd)](2) and [C18CysL5CCK8](2) in 70:30 molar ratio, represents the first example of a peptide-containing gemini surfactant as a potential target-selective contrast agent in MRI. In fact, it presents a high relaxivity value of the gadolinium complex, 21.5 mM(-1) s(-1), and the CCK8 bioactive peptide exposed on the external surface is therefore capable of selective targeting of the cholecystokinin receptors.
Purpose: This study addresses novel peptide modified liposomal doxorubicin to specifically target tissues overexpressing bombesin (BN) receptors. Methods: DOTA-(AEEA)(2)-peptides containing the [7-14]bombesin and the new BN-AA1 sequence have been synthesized to compare their binding properties and in serum stabilities. The amphiphilic peptide derivative (MonY-BN-AA1) containing BN-AA1, a hydrophobic moiety, polyethylenglycole (PEG), and diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (DTPA), has been synthesized. Liposomes have been obtained by mixing of MonY-BN-AA1 with 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC). Results: Both (111)In labeled peptide derivatives present nanomolar Kd to PC-3 cells. (177)Lu labeled peptide DOTA-(AEEA)(2)-BN-AA1 is very stable (half-life 414.1?h), while DOTA-(AEEA)(2)-BN, shows a half-life of 15.5?h. In vivo studies on the therapeutic efficacy of DSPC/MonY-BN-AA1/Dox in comparison to DSPC/MonY-BN/Dox, were performed in PC-3 xenograft bearing mice. Both formulations showed similar tumor growth inhibition (TGI) compared to control animals treated with non-targeted DSPC/Dox liposomes or saline solution. For DSPC/MonY-BN-AA1/Dox the maximum effect was observed 19 days after treatment. Conclusions: DSPC/MonY-BN-AA1/Dox nanovectors confirm the ability to selectively target and provide therapeutic efficacy in mice. The lack of receptor activation and possible acute biological side effects provided by using the AA1 antagonist bombesin sequence should provide safe working conditions for further development of this class of drug delivery vehicles.
Bacterial derived lipoproteins constitute potent macrophage activators in vivo and are effective stimuli, enhancing the immune response especially with respect to low or non-immunogenic compounds. In the present study we have prepared branched lipopeptide constructs in which different (B- and T-cell) epitopes of Herpes simplex virus type 1, derived from glycoproteins B (gB) and D (gD), are linked to a synthetic lipid core. The ability of the lipid core peptide (LCP) constructs (LCP-gB and LCP-gD) to induce cytokine expression and activate the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade has been evaluated and compared with the behaviour of the isolated epitopes and the lipid core. In this respect, the use of LCP technology coupled with the use of three different gB or gD peptide epitopes in the same branched constructs could represent an interesting approach in order to obtain efficient delivery systems in the development of a synthetic multiepitopic vaccine for the prevention of viral infections.
Drug delivery systems consisting of liposomes displaying a cell surface receptor-targeting peptide are being developed to specifically deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to tumors overexpressing a target receptor. This study addresses novel liposome composition approaches to specifically target tissues overexpressing bombesin (BN) receptors.
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