Lönn P, Dowdy SF
Expert Opin Drug Deliv 12 (10) 1627-1636 [2015-05-20; online 2015-05-20]
Macromolecular therapeutics, including enzymes, transcription factors, siRNAs, peptides and large synthetic molecules, can potentially be used to treat human diseases by targeting intracellular molecular pathways and modulating biological responses. However, large macromolecules have no ability to enter cells and require delivery vehicles. Protein transduction domains (PTDs), also known as cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), are a diverse class of peptides that can deliver macromolecules into cells. In this review, we cover the uptake and usage of arginine-rich PTDs/CPPs (TAT-PTD, Penetratin/Antp and 8R). We review the endocytosis-mediated uptake of these peptides and highlight three important steps: i) cell association; ii) internalization and iii) endosomal escape. We also discuss the array of different cargos that have been delivered by cationic PTDs/CPPs as well as cellular processes and biological responses that have been modulated. PTDs/CPPs have shown great potential to deliver otherwise undeliverable macromolecular therapeutics into cells for experimentation in cell culture and in animal disease models in vivo. Moreover, over 25 clinical trials have been performed predominantly using the TAT-PTD. However, more work is still needed. Endosomal escape and target-cell specificity remain two of the major future challenges.