Development of a penetratin-conjugated stapled peptide that inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signaling

Bioorg Med Chem. 2022 Nov 1:73:117021. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2022.117021. Epub 2022 Sep 28.


Wnt/β-catenin pathway triggers the formation of a complex between β-catenin and T cell-specific transcription factor (TCF), which induces transcriptional activation. Excessive transcriptional activation of this pathway is associated with the development, cause, and deterioration of various cancers. Therefore, the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is an attractive drug target for cancer therapeutics and small molecule- and peptide-based protein-protein interaction (PPI) inhibitors have been developed. However, peptide-based PPI inhibitors generally have low cell-membrane permeability because of their large molecular size. To improve cell-membrane permeability, conjugating cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) to PPI-inhibiting peptides is a useful method for developing intracellularly targeted PPI inhibitors. In this study, we focused on the interaction between β-catenin and liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1) and designed and synthesized a series of LRH-1-derived peptides to develop inhibitors against Wnt/β-catenin signaling. The results showed that a penetratin-conjugated LRH-1-derived peptide (Penetratin-st7) predominantly inhibited DLD-1 cell growth at 20 μM treatment via inhibition of the Wnt signaling pathway. This result suggests that Penetratin-st7 is one of promising PPI inhibitors between TCF and β-catenin.

Keywords: CPP-conjugated peptide; Cell-penetrating peptide; Protein–protein interaction; Stapled peptide; Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • TCF Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin
  • penetratin