Protein Mimetic and Anticancer Properties of Monocyte-Targeting Peptide Amphiphile Micelles

ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2017 Dec 11;3(12):3273-3282. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.7b00600. Epub 2017 Sep 28.


Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) stimulates the migration of monocytes to inflammatory sites, leading to the progression of many diseases. Recently, we described a monocyte-targeting peptide amphiphile micelle (MCP-1 PAM) incorporated with the chemokine receptor CCR2 binding motif of MCP-1, which has a high affinity for monocytes in atherosclerotic plaques. We further report here the biomimetic components of MCP-1 PAMs and the influence of the nanoparticle upon binding to monocytes. We report that MCP-1 PAMs have enhanced secondary structure compared to the MCP-1 peptide. As a result, MCP-1 PAMs displayed improved binding and chemoattractant properties to monocytes, which upregulated the inflammatory signaling pathways responsible for monocyte migration. Interestingly, when MCP-1 PAMs were incubated in the presence of prostate cancer cells in vitro, the particle displayed anticancer efficacy by reducing CCR2 expression. Given that monocytes play an important role in tumor cell migration and invasion, our results demonstrate that PAMs can improve the native biofunctional properties of the peptide and may be used as an effective inhibitor to prevent chemokine-receptor interactions that promote disease progression.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; monocyte; nanoparticle; peptide; peptide amphiphile micelle; prostate cancer.