Antitumor activity of cell-permeable p18 INK4c with enhanced membrane and tissue penetration

Junghee Lim, Jungeun Kim, Tam Duong, Guewha Lee, Junghee Kim, Jina Yoon, Jaetaek Kim, Hyuncheol Kim, H. Earl Ruley, Wael El-Rifai, Daewoong Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Practical methods to deliver proteins systemically in animals have been hampered by poor tissue penetration and inefficient cytoplasmic localization of internalized proteins. We therefore pursued the development of improved macromolecule transduction domains (MTDs) and tested their ability to deliver therapeutically active p18 INK4c. MTD103 was identified from a screen of 1,500 signal peptides; tested for the ability to promote protein uptake by cells and tissues; and analyzed with regard to the mechanism of protein uptake and the delivery of biologically active p18 INK4c into cancer cells. The therapeutic potential of cell-permeable MTD103p18 INK4c (CP-p18 INK4c) was tested in the HCT116 tumor xenograft model. MTD103p18 INK4c appeared to traverse plasma membranes directly, was transferred from cell-to-cell and was therapeutically effective against cancer xenografts, inhibiting tumor growth by 86-98% after 5 weeks (P 0.05). The therapeutic responses to CP-p18 INK4c were accompanied by high levels of apoptosis in tumor cells. In addition to enhancing systemic delivery of CP-p18 INK4c to normal tissues and cancer xenografts, the MTD103 sequence delayed protein clearance from the blood, liver and spleen. These results demonstrate that macromolecule intracellular transduction technology (MITT), enabled by MTDs, may provide novel protein therapies against cancer and other diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1540-1549
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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