Co-localization of crotamine with internal membranes and accentuated accumulation in tumor cells

Crotamine is a highly cationic; cysteine rich, cross-linked, low molecular mass cell penetrating peptide (CPP) from the venom of the South American rattlesnake. Potential application of crotamine in biomedicine may require its large-scale purification. To overcome difficulties related with the purification of natural crotamine (nCrot) we aimed in the present study to synthesize and characterize a crotamine analog (sCrot) as well investigate its CPP activity. Mass spectrometry analysis demonstrates that sCrot and nCrot have equal molecular mass and biological function-the capacity to induce spastic paralysis in the hind limbs in mice. sCrot CPP activity was evaluated in a wide range of tumor and non-tumor cell tests performed at different time points. We demonstrate that sCrot-Cy3 showed distinct co-localization patterns with intracellular membranes inside the tumor and non-tumor cells. Time-lapse microscopy and quantification of sCrot-Cy3 fluorescence signalss in living tumor versus non-tumor cells revealed a significant statistical difference in the fluorescence intensity observed in tumor cells. These data suggest a possible use of sCrot as a molecular probe for tumor cells, as well as, for the selective delivery of anticancer molecules into these tumors.
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co-localization;  molecular imaging;  membrane trafficking;  cell penetrating peptide (CPP);  crotamine;  tumor marker

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Mambelli NC, Sciani JM, Prieto da Silva ARB, Kerkis I. Co-localization of crotamine with internal membranes and accentuated accumulation in tumor cells. Molecules. 2018 Apr;23(4):968. doi:10.3390/molecules23040968.
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