Journal Article

Landscape phages and their fusion proteins targeted to breast cancer cells

Olusegun A. Fagbohun, Deepa Bedi, Natalia I. Grabchenko, Patricia A. Deinnocentes, Richard C. Bird and Valery A. Petrenko

in Protein Engineering, Design and Selection

Volume 25, issue 6, pages 271-283
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 1741-0126
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1741-0134 | DOI:
Landscape phages and their fusion proteins targeted to breast cancer cells

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Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in the USA. The efficacy of existing anticancer therapeutics can be improved by targeting them through conjugation with ligands binding to cellular receptors. Recently, we developed a novel drug targeting strategy based on the use of pre-selected cancer-specific ‘fusion pVIII proteins’ (fpVIII), as targeting ligands. To study the efficiency of this approach in animal models, we developed a panel of breast cancer cell-binding phages as a source of targeted fpVIIIs. Two landscape phage peptide libraries (8-mer f8/8 and 9-mer f8/9) were screened to isolate 132 phage variants that recognize breast carcinoma cells MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 and internalize into the cells. When tested for their interaction with the breast cancer cells in comparison with liver cancer cells HepG2, human mammary cells MCF-10A cells and serum, 16 of the phage probes selectively interacted with the breast cancer cells whereas 32 bound both breast and liver cancer cells. The most prominent cancer-specific phage DMPGTVLP, demonstrating sub-nanomolar Kd in interaction with target cells, was used for affinity chromatography of cellular membrane molecules to reveal its potential binding receptor. The isolated protein was identified by direct sequencing as cellular surface nucleolin. This conclusion was confirmed by inhibition of the phage–cell interaction with nucleolin antibodies. Other prominent phage binders VPTDTDYS, VEEGGYIAA, and DWRGDSMDS demonstrate consensus motifs common to previously identified cancer-specific peptides. Isolated phage proteins exhibit inherent binding specificity towards cancer cells, demonstrating the functional activity of the selected fused peptides. The selected phages, their peptide inserts and intact fusion proteins can serve as promising ligands for the development of targeted nanomedicines and their study in model mice with xenograft of human cells MCF-7 and ZR-75-1.

Keywords: breast cancer; landscape phage; nucleolin; phage display; phage library

Journal Article.  7593 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Proteins

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