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Synthetic Pept-Ins as a Generic Amyloid-Like Aggregation-Based Platform for In Vivo PET Imaging of Intracellular Targets

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Amyloid-like aggregation of proteins is induced by short amyloidogenic sequence segments within a specific protein sequence resulting in self-assembly into β-sheets. We recently validated a technology platform in which synthetic amyloid peptides ("Pept-ins") containing a specific aggregation-prone region (APR) are used to induce specific functional knockdown of the target protein from which the APR was derived, including bacterial, viral, and mammalian cell proteins. In this work, we investigated if Pept-ins can be used as vector probes for in vivo Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging of intracellular targets. The radiolabeled Pept-ins [68Ga]Ga-NODAGA-PEG4-vascin (targeting VEGFR2) and [68Ga]Ga-NODAGA-PEG2-P2 (targeting E. coli) were evaluated as PET probes. The Pept-in based radiotracers were cross-validated in a murine tumor and muscle infection model, respectively, and were found to combine target specificity with favorable in vivo pharmacokinetics. When the amyloidogenicity of the interacting region of the peptide is suppressed by mutation, cellular uptake and in vivo accumulation are abolished, highlighting the importance of the specific design of synthetic Pept-ins. The ubiquity of target-specific amyloidogenic sequence segments in natural proteins, the straightforward sequence-based design of the Pept-in probes, and their spontaneous internalization by cells suggest that Pept-ins may constitute a generic platform for in vivo PET imaging of intracellular targets.
Journal: Bioconjugate Chemistry
ISSN: 1043-1802
Issue: 9
Volume: 32
Pages: 2052 - 2064