Arginine grafting to endow cell permeability

ACS Chem Biol. 2007 Mar 20;2(3):167-70. doi: 10.1021/cb600429k. Epub 2007 Feb 23.


We report on a means to endow proteins with the ability to permeate mammalian cells without appending an exogenous domain. Our approach is to install a cationic patch on the surface of a target protein by the grafting of arginine residues. Doing so with GFP did not compromise conformational stability but enabled efficient cellular uptake that was dependent on cell-surface glycosaminoglycans. We anticipate that this cell-permeable variant of GFP, which obviates the need for transfection, will be useful for numerous applications in cell biology and that the method of arginine grafting will be broadly applicable.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glycosaminoglycans / analysis
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mammals
  • Recombinant Proteins / analysis


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Arginine