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Peptides with the multibasic cleavage site of the hemagglutinin from highly pathogenic influenza viruses act as cell-penetrating via binding to heparan sulfate and neuropilins

Yamamoto, Yasuyuki, Tamiya, Shigeyuki, Shibuya, Meito, Nakase, Ikuhiko, Yoshioka, Yasuo
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.512 no.3 pp. 453-459
Influenza A virus, Influenza B virus, amino acids, antigen-antibody reactions, antigens, dendritic cells, epithelial cells, hemagglutinins, heparan sulfate, humans, mice, mutants, nucleic acids, peptides, therapeutics
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) show promise as an attractive delivery vehicle for therapeutic molecules—including nucleic acids, peptides, proteins, and even particulates—into several cell types. It is important to identify new CPPs and select the optimal CPP for each application, because CPPs differ in their internalized efficiency and internalization mechanisms. Here, we identified new CPPs derived from the peptides with the hemagglutinin cleavage site (pHACS) of highly pathogenic influenza viruses. We compared the potential of peptides from the pHACS of four subtypes of influenza A virus (H1, H3, H5, and H7) and an influenza B virus (H1-pHACS, H3-pHACS, H5-pHACS, H7-pHACS, and B-pHACS, respectively) to serve as CPPs. H5-pHACS and H7-pHACS, but not the other peptides, bound to mouse dendritic cells and human epithelial cells and were internalized efficiently into these cells. H5-pHACS and H7-pHACS required glycosaminoglycans, especially heparan sulfate and neuropilins, to bind to the cells. In addition, we designed a mutant H7-pHACS with superior cell-binding capability by changing a single amino acid. Furthermore, when conjugated with antigen, H5-pHACS and H7-pHACS induced antigen-specific antibody responses, demonstrating the usefulness of this antigen-delivery vehicle. Our results will improve our understanding of the mechanisms of CPPs and facilitate the development of novel drug-delivery vehicles designed to improve therapeutic efficacy.