To synthesize a fluorescent Her2-NLP peptide conjugate consisting of Her2/neu targeting peptide and nuclear localization sequence peptide (NLP) and assess its cellular uptake and intracellular localization for radionuclide cancer therapy targeting Her2/neu-positive circulating breast cancer cells (CBCC). Fluorescent Cy5.5 Her2-NLP peptide conjugate was synthesized by coupling a bivalent peptide sequence, which consisted of a Her2-binding peptide (NH2-GSGKCCYSL) and an NLP peptide (CGYGPKKKRKVGG) linked by a polyethylene glycol (PEG) chain with 6 repeating units, with an activated Cy5.5 ester. The conjugate was separated and purified by HPLC and then characterized by Maldi-MS. The intracellular localization of fluorescent Cy5.5 Her2-NLP peptide conjugate was assessed by fluorescent microscopic imaging using a confocal microscope after incubation of Cy5.5-Her2-NLP with Her2/neu positive breast cancer cells and Her2/neu negative control breast cancer cells, respectively. Fluorescent signals were detected in cytoplasm of Her2/neu positive breast cancer cells (SKBR-3 and BT474 cell lines), but not or little in cytoplasm of Her2/neu negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231), after incubation of the breast cancer cells with Cy5.5-Her2-NLP conjugates in vitro. No fluorescent signals were detected within the nuclei of Her2/neu positive SKBR-3 and BT474 breast cancer cells, neither Her2/neu negative MDA-MB-231 cells, incubated with the Cy5.5-Her2-NLP peptide conjugates, suggesting poor nuclear localization of the Cy5.5-Her2-NLP conjugates localized within the cytoplasm after their cellular uptake and internalization by the Her2/neu positive breast cancer cells. Her2-binding peptide (KCCYSL) is a promising agent for radionuclide therapy of Her2/neu positive breast cancer using a β− or α emitting radionuclide, but poor nuclear localization of the Her2-NLP peptide conjugates may limit its use for eradication of Her2/neu-positive CBCC using I-125 or other Auger electron emitting radionuclide.
Breast cancer Her2/neu oncoprotein Circulating tumor cells Nuclear localization sequence peptide Radionuclide cancer therapy
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This research project was supported by the Department of Defense (CDMRP/BCRP, W81XWH-11-1-0188 to FP) and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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