How do peptides penetrate cells? Two sides of the same coin

phys.org | 11/9/2018 | Staff
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The simple transport of drugs directly into cells is one of the primary goals of the pharmaceutical industry. In large part, researchers still don't possess a detailed understanding at the molecular level of the processes responsible for transporting substances into and out of cells. In collaboration with colleagues from the Czech Republic and Germany, the research team of Pavel Jungwirth from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague) has discovered a previously unknown mechanism by which short peptides are able to penetrate cells and in principle, could serve as carriers of drug molecules. The results of their research have now been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

The ability of positively charged short peptides to penetrate cells was first observed in HIV research, and today, it's gradually being employed to transport drugs into cells. Until now, however, this primarily took the form of so-called vesicular transport, i.e., by means of a transport vesicle separating from the cell membrane and enveloping the transported substance, which must then break free from the vesicle after transport into the cell is complete, potentially posing a technical complication for efficient transportation of the drug. It's known that peptides can also penetrate cells passively, i.e. independently of energy from the cell, but the exact mechanism has yet to be described.

Fluorescence - Electron - Microscopy - Combination

Now, using fluorescence and electron microscopy in combination...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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