Peptide-mediated delivery of antisense oligonucleotides and chemotherapeutics across biological barriers
Author(s)Fadzen, Colin MacLaine
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry.
Bradley L. Pentelute.
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Many nucleic acids, peptides, and small molecules struggle to become clinically viable therapeutics as a result of poor delivery. Biological barriers such as the plasma membrane and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) contribute to this challenge as they can limit the passage of macromolecules. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) that interact with membranes can improve the uptake of macromolecules across biological barriers. Here we explore methods for the peptide-mediated delivery of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and chemotherapeutics. First, we address the issue that the optimal peptide sequence for the delivery of a macromolecular cargo is often context-dependent and specific to that cargo. With one class of ASO, we develop a paradigm that combines systematic screening of known CPPs in a functional assay for ASO delivery with machine learning methods. Using our computational model, we identify five novel sequences that increase ASO activity at least three-fold. Next, we demonstrate that combining CPPs of different classes generates chimeric peptides with synergistic effects on ASO delivery. These chimeras improve ASO activity twenty-fold, which is greater than any literature-reported sequence. Then, we examine peptide cyclization with perfluoroaryl-cysteine SNAr chemistry to improve the stability and delivery of peptide-ASO conjugates. We extend our SNAr chemistry to the synthesis of arginine-rich bicyclic peptides, which are more stable to proteolysis than single cycles. Both perfluoroaryl cyclic and bicyclic arginine-rich peptides improve ASO activity fourteen-fold. Consequently, we demonstrate that peptide cyclization with perfluoroaryl-cysteine SNAr chemistry enhances the ability of peptides to cross the BBB. We prepare macrocyclic analogues of both a CPP and a therapeutic peptide. We show that a subset of the macrocycles cross the BBB in both a cellular spheroid model of the BBB, as well as after intravenous injection in mice. Finally, we conjugate a platinum (IV) prodrug of the chemotherapeutic cisplatin to a brain-penetrating perfluoroaryl macrocycle and show that the amount of platinum in the mouse brain is fifteen-fold greater than cisplatin after five hours. In summary, we explore strategies to improve the peptide-mediated delivery of ASOs and small molecule chemotherapeutics across biological barriers. In the future, we envision extending these approaches to other macromolecular cargos of therapeutic interest.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Biological Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology