One-dimensional poly(L-lysine)-block-poly(L-threonine) assemblies exhibit potent anticancer activity by enhancing membranolysis.

Abstract

Herein, we report the oncolytic activity of cationic, one-dimensional (1D) fibril assemblies formed from coil-sheet poly(L-lysine)-block-poly(L-threonine) (PLL-b-PLT) block copolypeptides for cancer therapy. The 1D fibril assemblies can efficiently interact with negatively charged cellular and mitochondrial membranes via electrostatic interactions, leading to necrosis via membrane lysis and apoptosis via the mitochondria-lytic effect. The concept is analogous to that of 1D drug carriers that exhibit enhanced cell penetration. In comparison to free PLL chains, PLL-b-PLT fibril assemblies exhibit selective cytotoxicity toward cancer cells, low hemolysis activity, enhanced membranolytic activity, and a different apoptosis pathway, which may be due to differences in the peptide-membrane interactions. Antitumor studies using a metastatic LL2 lung carcinoma model indicate that the fibril assemblies significantly inhibited tumor growth, improved survival in tumor-bearing mice and suppressed lung metastasis without obvious body weight loss. An additive efficacy was also observed for treatment with both PLL-b-PLT and cisplatin. These results support the feasibility of using 1D fibril assemblies as potential apoptotic anticancer therapeutics. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE We report that cationic, one-dimensional (1D) fibril assemblies formed by coil-sheet poly(L-lysine)-block-poly(L-threonine) (PLL-b-PLT) block copolypeptides exhibited potent anticancer activity by enhancing membranolysis. The 1D fibril assemblies can efficiently interact with negatively charged cellular and mitochondrial membranes via electrostatic interactions, leading to necrosis via membrane lysis and apoptosis via mitochondria-lytic effect. Moreover, the fibril assemblies exhibited low hemolytic activity and selective cytotoxicity toward cancer cell, which is advantageous as compared to PLL and most antimicrobial/anticancerous peptides. This study provides a new concept of using cationic, 1D fibril assemblies for cancer therapy.

DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.04.009