Intracellular delivery of large molecules and small particles by cell-penetrating proteins and peptides

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2005 Feb 28;57(4):637-51. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2004.10.007. Epub 2004 Dec 22.


Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been used to overcome the lipophilic barrier of the cellular membranes and deliver large molecules and even small particles inside the cell for their biological actions. CPPs are being used to deliver inside cell a large variety of cargoes such as proteins, DNA, antibodies, contrast (imaging) agents, toxins, and nanoparticular drug carriers including liposomes. In this paper, we have reviewed the delivery of different molecules and particles mediated by TAT, Antp, VP22, and other CPPs as well as potential applications of these delivery systems in different areas of vaccine development, cancer immunotherapy, gene delivery, and cellular imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Cell Membrane Permeability*
  • Drug Carriers
  • Gene Products, tat* / metabolism
  • Gene Products, tat* / physiology
  • HIV-1*
  • Homeodomain Proteins* / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins* / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins* / physiology
  • Particle Size
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors* / physiology
  • Viral Structural Proteins* / metabolism
  • Viral Structural Proteins* / physiology
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Drug Carriers
  • Gene Products, tat
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Transcription Factors
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • protein VP22, Herpes simplex virus type 2
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus