A new antisense peptide-peptide nucleic acid (peptide-PNA) conjugate, designed for targeting bcl-2 expression, has been radiolabeled, characterized, and evaluated for bcl-2 mRNA binding in a cell-free system. A PNA complementary to the first six codons of the bcl-2 gene was synthesized by standard solid-phase Fmoc chemistry and conjugated to a new derivative of 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N",N'"-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) that allows macrocyclic radiometal chelates to be incorporated into any sequence position of a peptide-PNA conjugate. The DOTA-PNA conjugate was then coupled to a membrane-permeating transduction peptide, PTD-4, designed for intracellular delivery of the radiolabeled PNA. The conjugate was characterized by HPLC and ESI-MS and labeled with (111)In and (90)Y to high specific activities (>1000 Ci/mmol) with high radiochemical purity. Northern blot analysis showed that (90)Y-PTD-4-K(DOTA)-anti-bcl-2-PNA bound specifically to as little as 50 fmol of bcl-2 mRNA, a result equivalent to that obtained with the analogous (32)P-labeled DNA antisense oligonucleotide. Thus, the mRNA targeting properties of (111)In- and (90)Y-PTD-4-K(DOTA)-anti-bcl-2-PNA demonstrate potential for diagnostic imaging and targeted radiotherapy applications in bcl-2-positive cancers.