Peptide-mediated targeting of liposomes to tumor cells.

Evonne M. Rezler, David R. Khan, Raymond Tu, Matthew Tirrell, Gregg B. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


One of the biggest obstacles for efficient drug delivery is specific cellular targeting. Liposomes have long been used for drug delivery, but do not possess targeting capabilities. This limitation may be circumvented by surface coating of colloidal delivery systems with peptides, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or antibodies that target cell surface receptors or other biomolecules. Each of these coatings has significant drawbacks. One idealized system for drug delivery combines stabilized "protein module" ligands with a colloidal delivery vehicle. Prior studies have shown that peptide-amphiphiles, whereby both a peptide "head group" and a lipid-like "tail" are present in the same molecule, can be used to engineer collagen-like triple-helical or alpha-helical miniproteins. The tails serve to stabilize the head group structural elements. These peptide-amphiphiles can be designed to bind to specific cell surface receptors with high affinity. Structural stabilization of the integrated targeting ligand in the peptide-amphiphile system equates to prolonged in vivo stability through resistance to proteolytic degradation. Liposomes have been prepared incorporating a melanoma targeting peptide-amphiphile ligand, and shown to be stable with retention of peptide-amphiphile triple-helical structure. Encapsulated fluorescent dyes are selectively delivered to cells. In this chapter we describe the methods and techniques employed in the preparation and characterization of peptide-amphiphiles and peptide-amphiphile-targeted large and small unilamellar vesicles (LUVs and SUVs). Fluorescence microscopy is subsequently utilized to examine the targeting capabilities of peptide-amphiphile LUVs, which should allow for improved drug selectivity towards melanoma vs normal cells based on differences in the relative abundance of the targeted cell surface receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-298
Number of pages30
JournalMethods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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