Molecular determinants of the cellular entry of asymmetric peptide dendrimers and role of caveolae

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© 2016 Rewatkar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Caveolae are flask-shaped plasma membrane subdomains abundant in most cell types that participate in endocytosis. Caveola formation and functions require membrane proteins of the caveolin family, and cytoplasmic proteins of the cavin family. Cationic peptide dendrimers are non-vesicular chemical carriers that can transport pharmacological agents or genetic material across the plasma membrane. We prepared a panel of cationic dendrimers and investigated whether they require caveolae to enter into cells. Cell-based studies were performed using wild type or caveola-deficient i.e. caveolin-1 or PTRF gene-disrupted cells. There was a statistically significant difference in entry of cationic dendrimers between wild type and caveola-deficient cells. We further unveiled differences between dendrimers with varying charge density and head groups. Our results show, using a molecular approach, that (i) expression of caveola-forming proteins promotes cellular entry of cationic dendrimers and (ii) dendrimer structure can be modified to promote endocytosis in caveola-forming cells.




Rewatkar, P. V., Parekh, H. S., & Parat, M. O. (2016). Molecular determinants of the cellular entry of asymmetric peptide dendrimers and role of caveolae. PLoS ONE, 11(1).

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