Cell-penetrating peptides: 20 years later, where do we stand?

FEBS Lett. 2013 Jun 19;587(12):1693-702. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.04.031. Epub 2013 May 10.


Twenty years ago, the discovery of peptides able to cross cellular membranes launched a novel field in molecular delivery based on these non-invasive vectors, most commonly called cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) or protein transduction domains (PTDs). These peptides were shown to efficiently transport various biologically active molecules inside living cells, and thus are considered promising devices for medical and biotechnological developments. Moreover, CPPs emerged as potential tools to study the prime mechanisms of cellular entry across the plasma membrane. This review is dedicated to CPP fundamentals, with an emphasis on the molecular requirements and mechanism of their entry into eukaryotic cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / metabolism
  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides* / chemistry
  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides* / metabolism
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Transport


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides