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Exploration of new drug delivery pathways: I. Mechanism of folate uptake in cultured human cells. II. Role of nuclear localization signal peptides in the delivery of oligonucleotide into reconstituted nuclei


Oh, Kyoung Joon (1994) Exploration of new drug delivery pathways: I. Mechanism of folate uptake in cultured human cells. II. Role of nuclear localization signal peptides in the delivery of oligonucleotide into reconstituted nuclei. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/p6kk-r616.


The roles of the folate receptor and an anion carrier in the uptake of 5- methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MeH_4folate) were studied in cultured human (KB) cells using radioactive 5-MeH_4folate. Binding of the 5-MeH_4folate was inhibited by folic acid, but not by probenecid, an anion carrier inhibitor. The internalization of 5-MeH_4folate was inhibited by low temperature, folic acid, probenecid and methotrexate. Prolonged incubation of cells in the presence of high concentrations of probenecid appeared to inhibit endocytosis of folatereceptors as well as the anion carrier. The V_(max) and K_M values for the carrier were 8.65 ± 0.55 pmol/min/mg cell protein and 3.74 ± 0.54µM, respectively. The transport of 5-MeH4folate was competitively inhibited by folic acid, probenecid and methotrexate. The carrier dissociation constants for folic acid, probenecid and methotreate were 641 µM, 2.23 mM and 13.8 µM, respectively. Kinetic analysis suggests that 5-MeH_4folate at physiological concentration is transported through an anion carrier with the characteristics of the reduced-folate carrier after 5-MeH_4folate is endocytosed by folate receptors in KB cells. Our data with KB cells suggest that folate receptors and probenecid-sensitive carriers work in tandem to transport 5-MeH_4folate to the cytoplasm of cells, based upon the assumption that 1 mM probenecid does not interfere with the acidification of the vesicle where the folate receptors are endocytosed.

Oligodeoxynucleotides designed to hybridize to specific mRNA sequences (antisense oligonucleotides) or double stranded DNA sequences have been used to inhibit the synthesis of a number of cellular and viral proteins (Crooke, S. T. (1993) FASEB J. 7, 533-539; Carter, G. and Lemoine, N. R. (1993) Br. J. Cacer 67, 869-876; Stein, C. A. and cohen, J. S. (1988) Cancer Res. 48, 2659-2668). However, the distribution of the delivered oligonucleotides in the cell, i.e., in the cytoplasm or in the nucleus has not been clearly defined. We studied the kinetics of oligonucleotide transport into the cell nucleus using reconstituted cell nuclei as a model system. We present evidences here that oligonucleotides can freely diffuse into reconstituted nuclei. Our results are consistent with the reports by Leonetti et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 88, pp. 2702-2706, April 1991), which were published while we were carrying this research independently. We also investigated whether a synthetic nuclear localization signal (NLS) peptide of SV40 T antigen could be used for the nuclear targeting of oligonucleotides. We synthesized a nuclear localization signal peptide-conjugated oligonucleotide to see if a nuclear localization signal peptide can enhance the uptake of oligonucleotides into reconstituted nuclei of Xenopus. Uptake of the NLS peptide-conjugated oligonucleotide was comparable to the control oligonucleotide at similar concentrations, suggesting that the NLS signal peptide does not significantly enhance the nuclear accumulation of oligonucleotides. This result is probably due to the small size of the oligonucleotide.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Baldeschwieler, John D.
Thesis Committee:
  • Chan, Sunney I.
  • Dervan, Peter B.
  • Strauss, James H.
Defense Date:2 August 1993
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05132013-115254310
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7703
Deposited On:13 May 2013 21:22
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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