Development of a cell permeable competitive antagonist of RhoA and CRMP4 binding, TAT-C4RIP, to promote neurite outgrowth

J Mol Neurosci. 2015 Feb;55(2):406-15. doi: 10.1007/s12031-014-0350-3.


Neurons fail to re-extend their processes within the central nervous system environment in vivo, and this is partly because of inhibitory proteins expressed within myelin debris and reactive astrocytes that actively signal to the injured nerve cells to limit their growth. The ability of the trans-acting activator of transcription (TAT) protein transduction domain (PTD) to transport macromolecules across biological membranes raises the possibility of developing it as a therapeutic delivery tool for nerve regeneration. Most studies have produced TAT PTD fusion protein in bacteria, which can result in problems such as protein solubility, the formation of inclusion bodies and the lack of eukaryotic posttranslational modifications. While some groups have investigated the production of TAT PTD fusion protein in mammalian cells, these strategies are focused on generating TAT PTD fusions that are targeted to the secretory pathway, where furin protease as well as other proteases can cleave the TAT PTD. As an alternative to mutating the furin cleavage site in the TAT PTD, we describe a novel method to generate cytosolic TAT PTD fusion proteins and purify them from cell lysates. Here, we use this method to generate TAT-C4RIP, a cell permeable competitive antagonist of binding between the small GTPase RhoA and the cytosolic phosphoprotein Collapsin response mediator protein 4 (CRMP4). We demonstrate that TAT-C4RIP transduces cells in vitro and in vivo and retains its biological activity to attenuate myelin inhibition in an in vitro neurite outgrowth assay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Gene Products, tat / genetics*
  • Gene Products, tat / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurites / drug effects
  • Neurites / metabolism*
  • Neurites / physiology
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Dpysl3 protein, rat
  • Gene Products, tat
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein