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  • Modulation by flavonoids of cell multidrug resistance mediated by P-glycoprotein and related ABC transporters.

    3 July 2018

    Cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy is often mediated by overexpression of P-glycoprotein, a plasma membrane ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporter which extrudes cytotoxic drugs at the expense of ATP hydrolysis. P-glycoprotein (ABCB1, according to the human gene nomenclature committee) consists of two homologous halves each containing a transmembrane domain (TMD) involved in drug binding and efflux, and a cytosolic nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) involved in ATP binding and hydrolysis, with an overall (TMD-NBD)2 domain topology. Homologous ABC multidrug transporters, from the same ABCB family, are found in many species such as Plasmodiumfalciparum and Leishmania spp. protozoa, where they induce resistance to antiparasitic drugs. In yeasts, some ABC transporters involved in resistance to fungicides, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pdr5p and Snq2p, display a different (NBD-TMD)2 domain topology and are classified in another family, ABCG. Much effort has been spent to modulate multidrug resistance in the different species by using specific inhibitors, but generally with little success due to additional cellular targets and/or extrusion of the potential inhibitors. This review shows that due to similarities in function and maybe in three-dimensional organization of the different transporters, common potential modulators have been found. An in vitro 'rational screening' was performed among the large flavonoid family using a four-step procedure: (i) direct binding to purified recombinant cytosolic NBD and/or full-length transporter, (ii) inhibition of ATP hydrolysis and energy-dependent drug interaction with transporter-enriched membranes, (iii) inhibition of cell transporter activity monitored by flow cytometry and (iv) chemosensitization of cell growth. The results indicate that prenylated flavonoids bind with high affinity, and strongly inhibit drug interaction and nucleotide hydrolysis. As such, they constitute promising potential modulators of multidrug resistance.

  • Sequence requirements of the ATP-binding site within the C-terminal nucleotide-binding domain of mouse P-glycoprotein: structure-activity relationships for flavonoid binding.

    3 July 2018

    Sequence requirements of the ATP-binding site within the C-terminal nucleotide-binding domain (NBD2) of mouse P-glycoprotein were investigated by using two recombinantly expressed soluble proteins of different lengths and photoactive ATP analogues, 8-azidoadenosine triphosphate (8N(3)-ATP) and 2',3',4'-O-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)-8-azidoadenosine triphosphate (TNP-8N(3)-ATP). The two proteins, Thr(1044)-Thr(1224) (NBD2(short)) and Lys(1025)-Ser(1276) (NBD2(long)), both incorporated the four consensus sequences of ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporters, Walker A and B motifs, the Q-loop, and the ABC signature, while differing in N-terminal and C-terminal extensions. Radioactive photolabeling of both proteins was characterized by hyperbolic dependence on nucleotide concentration and high-affinity binding with K(0.5)(8N(3)-ATP) = 36-37 microM and K(0.5)(TNP-8N(3)-ATP) = 0.8-2.6 microM and was maximal at acidic pH. Photolabeling was strongly inhibited by TNP-ATP (K(D) = 0.1-5 microM) and ATP (K(D) = 0.5-2.7 mM). Since flavonoids display bifunctional interactions at the ATP-binding site and a vicinal steroid-interacting hydrophobic sequence [Conseil, G., Baubichon-Cortay, H., Dayan, G., Jault, J.-M., Barron, D., and Di Pietro, A. (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 95, 9831-9836], a series of 30 flavonoids from different classes were investigated for structure-activity relationships toward binding to the ATP site, monitored by protection against photolabeling. The 3-OH and aromaticity of conjugated rings A and C appeared important, whereas opening of ring C abolished the binding in all but one case. It can be concluded that the benzopyrone portion of the flavonoids binds at the adenyl site and the phenyl ring B at the ribosyl site. The Walker A and B motifs, intervening sequences, and small segments on both sides are sufficient to constitute the ATP site.

  • A novel mutation causing DEND syndrome: a treatable channelopathy of pancreas and brain.

    3 July 2018

    OBJECTIVES: Activating mutations in the human KCNJ11 gene, encoding the pore-forming subunit (Kir6.2) of the ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channel, are one cause of neonatal diabetes mellitus. In a few patients, KCNJ11 mutations cause a triad of developmental delay, epilepsy, and neonatal diabetes (DEND syndrome). The aim of this study was to determine the clinical effects, functional cause, and sensitivity to sulfonylurea treatment of a novel KCNJ11 mutation producing DEND syndrome. METHODS: We screened the DNA of a 3-year-old patient with neonatal diabetes, severe developmental delay, and therapy-resistant epilepsy for mutations in KCNJ11. We carried out electrophysiologic analysis of wild-type and mutant K(ATP) channels heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. RESULTS: We identified a novel Kir6.2 mutation (I167L) causing DEND syndrome. Functional analysis showed both homomeric and heterozygous mutant channels were less inhibited by MgATP leading to an increase in whole-cell K(ATP) currents. This effect was due to an increase in the intrinsic open probability. Heterozygous channels were strongly inhibited by the sulfonylurea tolbutamide. Treatment of the patient with the sulfonylurea glibenclamide not only enabled insulin therapy to be stopped, but also resulted in improvement in epilepsy and psychomotor abilities. CONCLUSIONS: We report a case of developmental delay, epilepsy, and neonatal diabetes (DEND) syndrome that shows neurologic improvement with sulfonylurea therapy. Early recognition of patients with DEND syndrome may have considerable therapeutic benefit for the patient.

  • Uptake kinetics of cell-penetrating peptides.

    2 July 2018

    As our knowledge increases about the diversity in uptake mechanisms displayed by cell-penetrating peptides (CPP), the concept of CPP uptake kinetics becomes increasingly complex. Here, we present three different assays that can be used for studying different kinetic aspects of CPP-mediated delivery: intracellular accumulation and membranolytical effects, intracellular CPP-cargo detachment, and finally a functional readout of a biological action from the delivered cargo. Unlike the traditional end-point measurements that give a static postincubation readout, these assays are all dynamic, real-time, in situ measurements obtained during incubation. A combination of some (or all) of these different assays gives us not only interesting kinetic information about the uptake routes but also provides a simple and valuable methodology for the evaluation of potential drug candidates based on the chemical modification of CPPs by cargo attachment.

  • In vivo biodistribution and efficacy of peptide mediated delivery.

    2 July 2018

    To transverse the plasma membrane and gain access to the cellular interior is one of the major obstacles for many novel pharmaceutical molecules. Since the late 1990s, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been utilized as transport vectors for a broad spectrum of 'biological cargoes', ranging from inert gold particles to multifaceted macromolecules such as proteins and plasmids. Numerous studies have shown that CPPs are efficient carriers for bioactive cargoes in vitro. However, even though CPPs are versatile transport vectors, this does not guarantee they can be developed into useful pharmaceutical molecules. Nevertheless, recent progress in the field has shown CPPs to be effective for in vivo delivery with retained biological activity of a wide variety of bioactive cargoes into virtually any mammalian tissue. This review will focus on recent developments and applications for CPP delivery and distribution in vivo.

  • A peptide-based vector for efficient gene transfer in vitro and in vivo.

    2 July 2018

    Finding suitable nonviral delivery vehicles for nucleic acid-based therapeutics is a landmark goal in gene therapy. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are one class of delivery vectors that has been exploited for this purpose. However, since CPPs use endocytosis to enter cells, a large fraction of peptides remain trapped in endosomes. We have previously reported that stearylation of amphipathic CPPs, such as transportan 10 (TP10), dramatically increases transfection of oligonucleotides in vitro partially by promoting endosomal escape. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate whether stearyl-TP10 could be used for the delivery of plasmids as well. Our results demonstrate that stearyl-TP10 forms stable nanoparticles with plasmids that efficiently enter different cell-types in a ubiquitous manner, including primary cells, resulting in significantly higher gene expression levels than when using stearyl-Arg9 or unmodified CPPs. In fact, the transfection efficacy of stearyl-TP10 almost reached the levels of Lipofectamine 2000 (LF2000), however, without any of the observed lipofection-associated toxicities. Most importantly, stearyl-TP10/plasmid nanoparticles are nonimmunogenic, mediate efficient gene delivery in vivo, when administrated intramuscularly (i.m.) or intradermally (i.d.) without any associated toxicity in mice.

  • Finger beat-to-beat blood pressure responses to successive hand elevations.

    2 July 2018

    We investigated finger beat-to-beat blood pressure responses to a series of successive hand elevations in 14 normal volunteers. By passive elevation of the hand by 40 cm and lowering it again after a minute, calibrated hydrostatic pressure changes were induced in the finger arteries of the subjects. Three successive procedures with a 2-min interval between them were performed. Transitions between positions were completed smoothly over a 10-s period. Non-invasive beat-to-beat mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the finger arteries was measured by applying the servo-oscillometric physiograph (University of Tartu, Estonia). A good agreement between the evoked MAP changes during all the three hand elevations (-31.2, -30.4 and -30.0 mmHg, respectively) and the calculated hydrostatic pressure change (-31.0 mmHg) was obtained. The height difference of approximately 40 cm and rate of 4-5 cm/s can be recommended for the hand elevation test, greater postural changes and higher rates may diminish agreement between the measured blood pressure response and the corresponding hydrostatic pressure change. The applied hydrostatic test may be helpful for assessing the accuracy of beat-to-beat finger blood pressure measurement.

  • Design of a peptide-based vector, PepFect6, for efficient delivery of siRNA in cell culture and systemically in vivo.

    2 July 2018

    While small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been rapidly appreciated to silence genes, efficient and non-toxic vectors for primary cells and for systemic in vivo delivery are lacking. Several siRNA-delivery vehicles, including cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), have been developed but their utility is often restricted by entrapment following endocytosis. Hence, developing CPPs that promote endosomal escape is a prerequisite for successful siRNA implementation. We here present a novel CPP, PepFect 6 (PF6), comprising the previously reported stearyl-TP10 peptide, having pH titratable trifluoromethylquinoline moieties covalently incorporated to facilitate endosomal release. Stable PF6/siRNA nanoparticles enter entire cell populations and rapidly promote endosomal escape, resulting in robust RNAi responses in various cell types (including primary cells), with minimal associated transcriptomic or proteomic changes. Furthermore, PF6-mediated delivery is independent of cell confluence and, in most cases, not significantly hampered by serum proteins. Finally, these nanoparticles promote strong RNAi responses in different organs following systemic delivery in mice without any associated toxicity. Strikingly, similar knockdown in liver is achieved by PF6/siRNA nanoparticles and siRNA injected by hydrodynamic infusion, a golden standard technique for liver transfection. These results imply that the peptide, in addition to having utility for RNAi screens in vitro, displays therapeutic potential.

  • The role of endocytosis on the uptake kinetics of luciferin-conjugated cell-penetrating peptides.

    2 July 2018

    Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short cationic/amphipathic peptides that can be used to deliver a variety of cargos into cells. However, it is still debated which routes CPPs employ to gain access to intracellular compartments. To assess this, most previously conducted studies have relied on information which is gained by using fluorescently labeled CPPs. More relevant information whether the internalized conjugates are biologically available has been gathered using end-point assays with biological readouts. Uptake kinetic studies have shed even more light on the matter because the arbitrary choice of end-point might have profound effect how the results could be interpreted. To elucidate uptake mechanisms of CPPs, here we have used a bioluminescence based assay to measure cytosolic delivery kinetics of luciferin-CPP conjugates in the presence of endocytosis inhibitors. The results suggest that these conjugates are delivered into cytosol mainly via macropinocytosis; clathrin-mediated endocytosis and caveolae/lipid raft dependent endocytosis are involved in a smaller extent. Furthermore, we demonstrate how the involved endocytic routes and internalization kinetic profiles can depend on conjugate concentration in case of certain peptides, but not in case of others. The employed internalization route, however, likely dictates the intracellular fate and subsequent trafficking of internalized ligands, therefore emphasizing the importance of our novel findings for delivery vector development.

  • Assessing the uptake kinetics and internalization mechanisms of cell-penetrating peptides using a quenched fluorescence assay.

    2 July 2018

    Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have shown great potency for cargo delivery both in vitro and in vivo. Different biologically relevant molecules need to be delivered into appropriate cellular compartments in order to be active, for instance certain drugs/molecules, e.g. antisense oligonucleotides, peptides, and cytotoxic agents require delivery into the cytoplasm. Assessing uptake mechanisms of CPPs can help to develop novel and more potent cellular delivery vectors, especially in cases when reaching a specific intracellular target requires involvement of a specific internalization pathway. Here we measure the overall uptake kinetics, with emphasis on cytoplasmic delivery, of three cell-penetrating peptides M918, TP10 and pVec using a quenched fluorescence assay. We show that both the uptake levels and kinetic constants depend on the endocytosis inhibitors used in the experiments. In addition, in some cases only the internalization rate is affected by the endocytosis inhibitors while the total uptake level is not and vice versa, which emphasizes importance of kinetic studies when assessing the uptake mechanisms of CPPs. Also, there seems to be a correlation between lower total cellular uptake and higher first-order rate constants. Furthermore, this may indicate simultaneous involvement of different endocytic pathways with different efficacies in the internalization process, as hypothesized but not shown earlier in an uptake kinetics assay.