ACS Nano, 15 April, 2019，DOI：http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.8b08142
Cooperatively Responsive Peptide Nanotherapeutic that Regulates Angiopoietin Receptor Tie2 Activity in Tumor Microenvironment To Prevent Breast Tumor Relapse after Chemotherapy
Lijing Zhang, Yingqiu Qi, Huan Min, Chen Ni, Fei Wang, Bin Wang, Hao Qin, Yinlong Zhang, Guangna Liu, Yue Qin, Xixi Duan, Feng Li, Xuexiang Han, Ning Tao, Lirong Zhang, Zhihai Qin*, Ying Zhao*, Guangjun Nie*
Expressed in macrophages and endothelial cells, the receptor for angiopoietin, tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin and epidermal growth factor homology-2 (Tie2), is required for the reconstruction of blood vessels in tumor recurrence after chemotherapy. Thus, small therapeutic peptides that target and block Tie2 activity are promising as a therapeutic for the prevention of tumor relapse after chemotherapy. However, such small peptides often have low bioavailability, undergo rapid enzymatic degradation, and exhibit a short circulation half-life, making them ineffective in cancer therapy. Herein, we designed a dual-responsive amphiphilic peptide (mPEG1000-K(DEAP)-AAN-NLLMAAS) to modify the small peptide T4 (NLLMAAS) as a Tie2 inhibitor, endowing it with the ability to endure in circulation and specifically target tumor tissue. The ultimate nanoformulation (P-T4) releases T4 in response to the combination of the acidic tumor microenvironment and the presence of legumain, which is commonly overexpressed in tumor tissue. Compared with free T4, P-T4 decreases vessel density significantly (free T4: 2.44 ± 1.20%, P-T4: 0.90 ± 0.75%), delays tumor regrowth after chemotherapy (free T4: 43.2 ± 11.8%, P-T4: 63.6 ± 13.9%), and reduces distant metastasis formation (free T4: 4.50 ± 2.40%, P-T4: 0.67 ± 0.32%). These effects of P-T4 are produced by the local blockage of Tie2 signals in Tie2-positive macrophages and endothelial cells. In addition to describing a potential strategy to enhance circulation half-life and the accumulation of an active peptide at tumor sites, our approach exemplifies the successful targeting of multiple cell types that overexpress a key molecule in conditions associated with tumors.