Functional peptides are now widely used in a myriad of biomedical and clinical contexts, from cancer therapy and tumor targeting to the treatment of bacterial and viral infections. Underlying this diverse range of applications are the non-specific interactions that can occur between peptides and cell membranes, which, in many contexts, result in spontaneous internalization of the peptide within cells by avoiding energy-driven endocytosis. For this to occur, the amphipathicity and surface structural flexibility of the peptides play a crucial role and can be regulated by the presence of specific molecular residues that give rise to precise molecular events. Nevertheless, most of the mechanistic details regulating the encounter between peptides and the membranes of bacterial or animal cells are still poorly understood, thus greatly limiting the biomimetic potential of these therapeutic molecules. In this arena, finely engineered nanomaterials—such as small amphiphilic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) protected by a mixed thiol monolayer—can provide a powerful tool for mimicking and investigating the physicochemical processes underlying peptide-lipid interactions. Within this perspective, we present here a critical review of membrane effects induced by both amphiphilic AuNPs and well-known amphiphilic peptide families, such as cell-penetrating peptides and antimicrobial peptides. Our discussion is focused particularly on the effects provoked on widely studied model cell membranes, such as supported lipid bilayers and lipid vesicles. Remarkable similarities in the peptide or nanoparticle membrane behavior are critically analyzed. Overall, our work provides an overview of the use of amphiphilic AuNPs as a highly promising tailor-made model to decipher the molecular events behind non-specific peptide-lipid interactions and highlights the main affinities observed both theoretically and experimentally. The knowledge resulting from this biomimetic approach could pave the way for the design of synthetic peptides with tailored functionalities for next-generation biomedical applications, such as highly efficient intracellular delivery systems.

Amphiphilic Gold Nanoparticles: A Biomimetic Tool to Gain Mechanistic Insights into Peptide-Lipid Interactions

Canepa E.;Relini A.;Bochicchio D.;Lavagna E.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Functional peptides are now widely used in a myriad of biomedical and clinical contexts, from cancer therapy and tumor targeting to the treatment of bacterial and viral infections. Underlying this diverse range of applications are the non-specific interactions that can occur between peptides and cell membranes, which, in many contexts, result in spontaneous internalization of the peptide within cells by avoiding energy-driven endocytosis. For this to occur, the amphipathicity and surface structural flexibility of the peptides play a crucial role and can be regulated by the presence of specific molecular residues that give rise to precise molecular events. Nevertheless, most of the mechanistic details regulating the encounter between peptides and the membranes of bacterial or animal cells are still poorly understood, thus greatly limiting the biomimetic potential of these therapeutic molecules. In this arena, finely engineered nanomaterials—such as small amphiphilic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) protected by a mixed thiol monolayer—can provide a powerful tool for mimicking and investigating the physicochemical processes underlying peptide-lipid interactions. Within this perspective, we present here a critical review of membrane effects induced by both amphiphilic AuNPs and well-known amphiphilic peptide families, such as cell-penetrating peptides and antimicrobial peptides. Our discussion is focused particularly on the effects provoked on widely studied model cell membranes, such as supported lipid bilayers and lipid vesicles. Remarkable similarities in the peptide or nanoparticle membrane behavior are critically analyzed. Overall, our work provides an overview of the use of amphiphilic AuNPs as a highly promising tailor-made model to decipher the molecular events behind non-specific peptide-lipid interactions and highlights the main affinities observed both theoretically and experimentally. The knowledge resulting from this biomimetic approach could pave the way for the design of synthetic peptides with tailored functionalities for next-generation biomedical applications, such as highly efficient intracellular delivery systems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1092494
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