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Targeting Triple Negative Breast Cancer with a Nucleus-Directed p53 Tetramerization Domain Peptide

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journal contribution
posted on 08.12.2020, 16:04 by Gu Xiao, George K. Annor, Kimberly Fung, Outi Keinänen, Brian M. Zeglis, Jill Bargonetti
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) has no targeted detection or treatment method. Mutant p53 (mtp53) is overexpressed in >80% of TNBCs, and the stability of mtp53 compared to the instability of wild-type p53 (wtp53) in normal cells makes mtp53 a promising TNBC target for diagnostic and theranostic imaging. We generated Cy5p53Tet, a novel nucleus-penetrating mtp53-oligomerization-domain peptide (mtp53ODP) to the tetramerization domain (TD) of mtp53. This mtp53ODP contains the p53 TD sequence conjugated to a Cy5 fluorophore for near-infrared fluorescence imaging (NIRF). In vitro co-immunoprecipitation and glutaraldehyde cross-linking showed a direct interaction between mtp53 and Cy5p53Tet. Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry demonstrated higher uptake of Cy5p53Tet in the nuclei of TNBC MDA-MB-468 cells with mtp53 R273H than in ER-positive MCF7 cells with wtp53. Furthermore, depletion of mtp53 R273H caused a decrease in the uptake of Cy5p53Tet in nuclei. In vivo analysis of the peptide in mice bearing MDA-MB-468 xenografts showed that Cy5p53Tet could be detected in tumor tissue 12 min after injection. In these in vivo experiments, significantly higher uptake of Cy5p53Tet was observed in mtp53-expressing MDA-MB-468 xenografts compared with the wtp53-expressing MCF7 tumors. Cy5p53Tet has clinical potential as an intraoperative imaging agent for fluorescence-guided surgery, and the mtp53ODP scaffold shows promise for modification in the future to enable the delivery of a wide variety of payloads including radionuclides and toxins to mtp53-expressing TNBC tumors.