Selection and identification of transferrin receptor-specific peptides as recognition probes for cancer cells

Research Paper
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Abstract

Since the transferrin receptor (CD71 or TFRC) is known to be highly expressed in numerous cancers, CD71 has become an attractive target in cancer research. Acquiring specific molecular probes for CD71, such as small molecular ligands, aptamers, peptides, or antibodies, is of great importance for cancer cell recognition and capture. In this work, we chose CD71 as the target for phage display, and after four rounds of positive selection and one round of negative selection, the specific phage library was enriched. After verification and sequence analysis, six peptides were identified to be able to bind to CD71 with high specificity. The specific recognition of the CD71-positive cells was confirmed by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Competition experiments demonstrated that peptide Y1 and transferrin (TF) were bound to distinct sites on CD71, indicating that peptide Y1 could replace TF as a potential probe for cell imaging and drug delivery, thus avoiding competition by endogenous TF and side effects.

Graphical abstract

Six peptides were successfully isolated using in vitro biopanning against CD71 with high specificity and affinity. Peptides Y1 and Y2 would be powerful tools in biosensors and biomedicine due to their unique properties.

Keywords

Phage display Biopanning CD71 Cancer cell Imaging 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the National Science Foundation of China (81602206, 21325522, 21422506, 21435004, 21521004), National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB933703), Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Teams in University (IRT13036), National Found for Fostering Talents of Basic Science (NFFTBS, J1310024), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M592089) for their financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2017_664_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (670 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 669 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuyu Tan
    • 1
  • Wenli Liu
    • 1
  • Zhi Zhu
    • 1
  • Lijun Lang
    • 1
  • Junxia Wang
    • 1
  • Mengjiao Huang
    • 1
  • Mingxia Zhang
    • 1
  • Chaoyong Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, Key Laboratory for Chemical Biology of Fujian Province, State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringXiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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