Design of a dual-ligand system using a specific ligand and cell penetrating peptide, resulting in a synergistic effect on selectivity and cellular uptake

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In this study, a dual-ligand liposomal system comprised of a specific ligand and a cell penetrating peptide (CPP) is described to enhance selectivity and cellular uptake. Dual-ligand PEGylated liposomes were prepared by modifying the end of the PEG with an NGR motif peptide, followed by a surface coating of the liposomes with stearylated oligoarginine (STR-RX). The NGR motif recognizes CD13, a marker protein located on tumor endothelial cells. A suitable number of RX units was determined to be R4, since it can be masked by the PEG aqueous layer. Although no enhanced cellular uptake was observed when a single modification of PEGylated liposomes with either NGR- or STR-R4 was used, the dual-modification with NGR and STR-R4 stimulated uptake of PEGylated liposomes by CD13 positive cells, and this uptake was superior to that obtained by PEG-unmodified liposomes modified with STR-R4. The dual-ligand system shows a synergistic effect on cellular uptake. Collectively, the dual-ligand system promises to be useful in the development efficient and specific drug delivery systems.

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