A growing number of natural and/or synthetic peptides with cell membrane penetrating capability have been identified and described in the past years. These molecules have been considered promising tools for delivering bioactive compounds into various cell types. Although the mechanism of uptake is still unclear, it is reasonable to assume that the relative contribute of each proposed mechanism could differ for the same peptide, depending on experimental protocol and cargo molecule composition. In this work we try to connect the capability to interact with model lipid membrane and structural and chemical characteristics of CPPs in order to obtain a biophysical classification that predicts the behavior of CPP-cargo molecules in cell systems. Indeed, the binding with cell membrane is one of the primary step in the interaction of CPPs with cells, and consequently the studies on model membrane could become important for understanding peptide-membrane interaction on a molecular level, explaining how CPPs may translocate a membrane without destroying it and how this interactions come into play in shuttling CPPs via different routes with different efficiency. We analyzed by CD and fluorescence spectroscopies the binding properties of six different CPPs (kFGF, Nle54
-Antp and Tat derived peptides, and oligoarginine peptides containing 6, 8 or 10 residues) in absence or presence of the same cargo peptide (the 392-401pTyr396
fragment of HS1 protein). The phospholipid binding properties were correlated to the conformational and chemical characteristics of peptides, as well as to the cell penetrating properties of the CPP-cargo conjugates. Results show that even if certain physico-chemical properties (conformation, positive charge) govern CPP capability to interact with the model membrane, these cannot fully explain cell-permeability properties.