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Characterization Of Blood–Brain Barrier Crossing And Tumor Homing Peptides By Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Authors Arcangeli C, Lico C, Baschieri S, Mancuso M

Received 7 August 2019

Accepted for publication 17 October 2019

Published 30 December 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 10123—10136

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S225793

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas Webster


Video abstract presented by Caterina Arcangeli.

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Caterina Arcangeli,1 Chiara Lico,2 Selene Baschieri,2 Mariateresa Mancuso3

1Laboratory of Health and Environment, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, Rome, Italy; 2Laboratory of Biotechnology, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, Rome, Italy; 3Laboratory of Biomedical Technologies, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, Rome, Italy

Correspondence: Caterina Arcangeli; Mariateresa Mancuso
ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Casaccia Research Centre, Via Anguillarese 301, Rome 00123, Italy
Tel +39 06 3048 6898/4993
Fax +39 06 3048 6559/3644
Email caterina.arcangeli@enea.it; mariateresa.mancuso@enea.it

Introduction: The new frontier of tumor diagnosis and treatment relies on the development of delivery strategies capable of allowing the specific targeting of the diagnostic agents/chemotherapeutics, avoiding side effects. In the case of brain tumors, achieving this goal is made more difficult by the presence of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Peptides have been revealed as excellent candidates for both BBB crossing and specific cancer homing. Nanoparticles (NPs), functionalized with BBB crossing and tumor homing (TH) peptides, are emerging as smart theranostic systems. However, there is still poor knowledge concerning the molecular structure and dynamical properties of these peptides, essential requirements for a suitable functionalization of the delivery systems themselves.
Methods: In this work, by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, we have extensively characterized the structural and dynamical behavior of several peptides, known to be endowed of BBB crossing and TH properties.
Results: The simulations point out that, on the basis of their conformational dynamics, the peptides can be classified in two main groups: 1) peptides assuming a specific structural conformation, a feature that could be important for interacting with the molecular target but that may limit their use as functionalizing molecules and 2) highly flexible peptides whose interaction with the target may be independent of a particular structural conformation and that may represent good candidates for the functionalization of theranostic NP-based platforms.
Discussion: Such findings may be useful for the de novo designing of NP-based delivery systems.

Keywords: conformational flexibility, free energy landscapes, essential dynamics, peptides, brain, theranostic platform

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