Iron-Gallic Acid Peptide Nanoparticles as a Versatile Platform for Cellular Delivery with Synergistic ROS Enhancement Effect
Cytosolic delivery of peptides is of great interest owing to their biological functions, which could be utilized for therapeutic applications. However, their susceptibility to enzymatic degradation and multiple cellular barriers generally hinders their clinical application. Integration into nanoparticles, which can enhance the stability and membrane permeability of bioactive peptides, is a promising strategy to overcome extracellular and intracellular obstacles. Herein, we present a versatile platform for the cellular delivery of various cargo peptides by integration into metallo-peptidic coordination nanoparticles. Both termini of cargo peptides were conjugated with gallic acid (GA) to assemble GA-modified peptides into nanostructures upon coordination of Fe(III). Initial pre-complexation of Fe(III) by poly-(vinylpolypyrrolidon) (PVP) as a template favored the formation of nanoparticles, which are able to deliver the peptides into cells efficiently. Iron–gallic acid peptide nanoparticles (IGPNs) are stable in water and are supposed to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) from endogenous H 2 O 2 in cells via the Fenton reaction. The strategy was successfully applied to an exemplary set of peptide sequences varying in length (1–7 amino acids) and charge (negative, neutral, positive). To confirm the capability of transporting bioactive cargos into cells, pro-apoptotic peptides were integrated into IGPNs, which demonstrated potent killing of human cervix carcinoma HeLa and murine neuroblastoma N2a cells at a 10 µM peptide concentration via the complementary mechanisms of peptide-triggered apoptosis and Fe(III)-mediated ROS generation. This study demonstrates the establishment of IGPNs as a novel and versatile platform for the assembly of peptides into nanoparticles, which can be used for cellular delivery of bioactive peptides combined with intrinsic ROS generation.