Unlocking Endosomal Entrapment with Supercharged Arginine-Rich Peptides. Academic Article uri icon


  • Endosomal entrapment is a common bottleneck in various macromolecular delivery approaches. Recently, the polycationic peptide dfTAT was identified as a reagent that induces the efficient leakage of late endosomes and, thereby, enhances the penetration of macromolecules into the cytosol of live human cells. To gain further insights into the features that lead to this activity, the role of peptide sequence was investigated. We establish that the leakage activity of dfTAT can be recapitulated by polyarginine analogs but not by polylysine counterparts. Efficiencies of peptide endocytic uptake increase linearly with the number of arginine residues present. In contrast, peptide cytosolic penetration displays a threshold behavior, indicating that a minimum number of arginines is required to induce endosomal escape. Increasing arginine content above this threshold further augments delivery efficiencies. Yet, it also leads to increasing the toxicity of the delivery agents. Together, these data reveal a relatively narrow arginine-content window for the design of optimally active endosomolytic agents.

published proceedings

  • Bioconjug Chem

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Najjar, K., Erazo-Oliveras, A., Mosior, J. W., Whitlock, M. J., Rostane, I., Cinclair, J. M., & Pellois, J.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Najjar, Kristina||Erazo-Oliveras, Alfredo||Mosior, John W||Whitlock, Megan J||Rostane, Ikram||Cinclair, Joseph M||Pellois, Jean-Philippe

publication date

  • December 2017