folder

Cellular uptake and biological activity of peptide nucleic acids conjugated with peptides with and without cell-penetrating ability

Authors

  • Y. Turner
  • G. Wallukat
  • P. Saeaelik
  • B. Wiesner
  • S. Pritz
  • J. Oehlke

Journal

  • Journal of Peptide Science

Citation

  • J Pept Sci 16 (1): 71-80

Abstract

  • A 12-mer peptide nucleic acid (PNA) directed against the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor mRNA was disulfide bridged with various peptides without and with cell-penetrating features. The cellular uptake and the antisense activity of these conjugates were assessed in parallel. Quantitation of the internalized PNA was performed by using an approach based on capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF). This approach enabled a selective assessment of the PNA moiety liberated from the conjugate in the reducing intracellular environment, thus avoiding bias of the results by surface adsorption. The biological activity of the conjugates was studied by an assay based on the downregulation of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (CM). Comparable cellular uptake was found for all conjugates and for the naked PNA, irrespective of the cell-penetrating properties of the peptide components. All conjugates exhibited a comparable biological activity in the 100 nM range. The naked PNA also exhibited extensive antisense activity, which, however, proved about five times lower than that of the conjugates. The found results suggest cellular uptake and the bioactivity of PNA-peptide conjugates to be not primarily related to the cell-penetrating ability of their peptide components. Likewise from these results it can be inferred that the superior bioactivity of the PNA-peptide conjugates in comparison with that of naked PNA rely on as yet unknown factors rather than on higher membrane permeability. Several hints point to the resistance against cellular export and the aggregation propensity combined with the endocytosis rate to be candidates for such factors.


DOI

doi:10.1002/psc.1198