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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 6, Issue 2 (February 2013), Pages 124-286

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Relationships between Cargo, Cell Penetrating Peptides and Cell Type for Uptake of Non-Covalent Complexes into Live Cells
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 184-203; doi:10.3390/ph6020184
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 29 January 2013 / Accepted: 30 January 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2068 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Modulating signaling pathways for research and therapy requires either suppression or expression of selected genes or internalization of proteins such as enzymes, antibodies, nucleotide binding proteins or substrates including nucleoside phosphates and enzyme inhibitors. Peptides, proteins and nucleotides are transported by fusing [...] Read more.
Modulating signaling pathways for research and therapy requires either suppression or expression of selected genes or internalization of proteins such as enzymes, antibodies, nucleotide binding proteins or substrates including nucleoside phosphates and enzyme inhibitors. Peptides, proteins and nucleotides are transported by fusing or conjugating them to cell penetrating peptides or by formation of non-covalent complexes. The latter is often preferred because of easy handling, uptake efficiency and auto-release of cargo into the live cell. In our studies complexes are formed with labeled or readily detectable cargoes for qualitative and quantitative estimation of their internalization. Properties and behavior of adhesion and suspension vertebrate cells as well as the protozoa Leishmania tarentolae are investigated with respect to proteolytic activity, uptake efficiency, intracellular localization and cytotoxicity. Our results show that peptide stability to membrane-bound, secreted or intracellular proteases varies between different CPPs and that the suitability of individual CPPs for a particular cargo in complex formation by non-covalent interactions requires detailed studies. Cells vary in their sensitivity to increasing concentrations of CPPs. Thus, most cells can be efficiently transduced with peptides, proteins and nucleotides with intracellular concentrations in the low micromole range. For each cargo, cell type and CPP the optimal conditions must be determined separately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell-penetrating Peptides 2012)
Open AccessArticle Elucidating the Function of Penetratin and a Static Magnetic Field in Cellular Uptake of Magnetic Nanoparticles
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 204-222; doi:10.3390/ph6020204
Received: 19 November 2012 / Revised: 22 January 2013 / Accepted: 23 January 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the biomedical arena. In particular, magnetic nanoparticles (mNPs) have become important tools in molecular diagnostics, in vivo imaging and improved treatment of disease, with the ultimate aim of producing a more theranostic approach. Due to [...] Read more.
Nanotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the biomedical arena. In particular, magnetic nanoparticles (mNPs) have become important tools in molecular diagnostics, in vivo imaging and improved treatment of disease, with the ultimate aim of producing a more theranostic approach. Due to their small sizes, the nanoparticles can cross most of the biological barriers such as the blood vessels and the blood brain barrier, thus providing ubiquitous access to most tissues. In all biomedical applications maximum nanoparticle uptake into cells is required. Two promising methods employed to this end include functionalization of mNPs with cell-penetrating peptides to promote efficient translocation of cargo into the cell and the use of external magnetic fields for enhanced delivery. This study aimed to compare the effect of both penetratin and a static magnetic field with regards to the cellular uptake of 200 nm magnetic NPs and determine the route of uptake by both methods. Results demonstrated that both techniques increased particle uptake, with penetratin proving more cell specific. Clathrin- medicated endocytosis appeared to be responsible for uptake as shown via PCR and western blot, with Pitstop 2 (known to selectively block clathrin formation) blocking particle uptake. Interestingly, it was further shown that a magnetic field was able to reverse or overcome the blocking, suggesting an alternative route of uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell-penetrating Peptides 2012)

Review

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Open AccessReview siRNA Genome Screening Approaches to Therapeutic Drug Repositioning
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 124-160; doi:10.3390/ph6020124
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 22 January 2013 / Published: 28 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (594 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bridging high-throughput screening (HTS) with RNA interference (RNAi) has allowed for rapid discovery of the molecular basis of many diseases, and identification of potential pathways for developing safe and effective treatments. These features have identified new host gene targets for existing drugs [...] Read more.
Bridging high-throughput screening (HTS) with RNA interference (RNAi) has allowed for rapid discovery of the molecular basis of many diseases, and identification of potential pathways for developing safe and effective treatments. These features have identified new host gene targets for existing drugs paving the pathway for therapeutic drug repositioning. Using RNAi to discover and help validate new drug targets has also provided a means to filter and prioritize promising therapeutics. This review summarizes these approaches across a spectrum of methods and targets in the host response to pathogens. Particular attention is given to the utility of drug repurposing utilizing the promiscuous nature of some drugs that affect multiple molecules or pathways, and how these biological pathways can be targeted to regulate disease outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNAi-Based Therapeutics)
Open AccessReview Dendrimers for siRNA Delivery
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 161-183; doi:10.3390/ph6020161
Received: 7 January 2013 / Revised: 17 January 2013 / Accepted: 29 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (581 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the discovery of the “starburst polymer”, later renamed as dendrimer, this class of polymers has gained considerable attention for numerous biomedical applications, due mainly to the unique characteristics of this macromolecule, including its monodispersity, uniformity, and the presence of numerous functionalizable [...] Read more.
Since the discovery of the “starburst polymer”, later renamed as dendrimer, this class of polymers has gained considerable attention for numerous biomedical applications, due mainly to the unique characteristics of this macromolecule, including its monodispersity, uniformity, and the presence of numerous functionalizable terminal groups. In recent years, dendrimers have been studied extensively for their potential application as carriers for nucleic acid therapeutics, which utilize the cationic charge of the dendrimers for effective dendrimer-nucleic acid condensation. siRNA is considered a promising, versatile tool among various RNAi-based therapeutics, which can effectively regulate gene expression if delivered successfully inside the cells. This review reports on the advancements in the development of dendrimers as siRNA carriers. Full article
Open AccessReview RNAi Therapeutic Platforms for Lung Diseases
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 223-250; doi:10.3390/ph6020223
Received: 19 December 2012 / Revised: 19 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 February 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (1276 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
RNA interference (RNAi) is rapidly becoming an important method for analyzing gene functions in many eukaryotes and holds promise for the development of therapeutic gene silencing. The induction of RNAi relies on small silencing RNAs, which affect specific messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation. [...] Read more.
RNA interference (RNAi) is rapidly becoming an important method for analyzing gene functions in many eukaryotes and holds promise for the development of therapeutic gene silencing. The induction of RNAi relies on small silencing RNAs, which affect specific messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation. Two types of small RNA molecules, i.e. small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are central to RNAi. Drug discovery studies and novel treatments of siRNAs are currently targeting a wide range of diseases, including various viral infections and cancers. Lung diseases in general are attractive targets for siRNA therapeutics because of their lethality and prevalence. In addition, the lung is anatomically accessible to therapeutic agents via the intrapulmonary route. Recently, increasing evidence indicates that miRNAs play an important role in lung abnormalities, such as inflammation and oncogenesis. Therefore, miRNAs are being targeted for therapeutic purposes. In this review, we present strategies for RNAi delivery and discuss the current state-of-the-art RNAi-based therapeutics for various lung diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNAi-Based Therapeutics)
Open AccessReview NMDA Receptor Modulators in the Treatment of Drug Addiction
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 251-268; doi:10.3390/ph6020251
Received: 30 November 2012 / Revised: 29 January 2013 / Accepted: 29 January 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glutamate plays a pivotal role in drug addiction, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor subtype serves as a molecular target for several drugs of abuse. In this review, we will provide an overview of NMDA receptor structure and function, [...] Read more.
Glutamate plays a pivotal role in drug addiction, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor subtype serves as a molecular target for several drugs of abuse. In this review, we will provide an overview of NMDA receptor structure and function, followed by a review of the mechanism of action, clinical efficacy, and side effect profile of NMDA receptor ligands that are currently in use or being explored for the treatment of drug addiction. These ligands include the NMDA receptor modulators memantine and acamprosate, as well as the partial NMDA agonist D-cycloserine. Data collected to date suggest that direct NMDA receptor modulators have relatively limited efficacy in the treatment of drug addiction, and that partial agonism of NMDA receptors may have some efficacy with regards to extinction learning during cue exposure therapy. However, the lack of consistency in results to date clearly indicates that additional studies are needed, as are studies examining novel ligands with indirect mechanisms for altering NMDA receptor function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue NMDA Receptor Antagonists for Treatment of CNS Disorders)
Open AccessReview cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Inhibitors in Health and Disease
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(2), 269-286; doi:10.3390/ph6020269
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 23 January 2013 / Accepted: 5 February 2013 / Published: 7 February 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (735 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
cGMP-dependent protein kinases (PKG) exhibit diverse physiological functions in the mammalian system e.g., in vascular and gastrointestinal smooth muscles, in platelets, in kidney, in bone growth, nociception and in the central nervous system. Furthermore, PKG were found in insects and in [...] Read more.
cGMP-dependent protein kinases (PKG) exhibit diverse physiological functions in the mammalian system e.g., in vascular and gastrointestinal smooth muscles, in platelets, in kidney, in bone growth, nociception and in the central nervous system. Furthermore, PKG were found in insects and in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Two different genes of PKG exist: a) the PKG-I gene that is expressed as cytosolic PKG-Iα or PKG-Iβ isoform, and b) the PKG-II gene, which expresses the membrane associated PKG-II protein. The enzyme kinetics, the localization and the substrates of these PKG enzymes differ utilizing different physiological functions. Various inhibitors of PKG were developed directed against diverse functional regions of the kinase. These inhibitors of PKG have been used to analyse the specific functions of these enzymes. The review article will summarize these different inhibitors regarding their specificity and their present applications in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, it will be discussed that the distinct inhibition of the PKG enzymes could be used as a valuable pharmacological target e.g., in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diarrhea, cancer or malaria. Full article

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