postdoctoral fellow FONCyT
Director: Natalia Wilke
Cell penetration peptides (CPP) effect on the properties of the cell membrane
Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) constitute a family of small peptides, which are rich in basic aminoacids such as arginine and lysine. These peptides are able to translocate cell membranes, even when attached to small cargoes, thus being efficient vectors for introducing proteins, nucleic-acid strands, nanoparticles and fluorescent probes into the cell’s cytoplasm. Unraveling the details of how this happens is important in biophysics and other fields where CPPs are used as cargo delivery systems. It is known that CCPs interact with the membrane, making it possible to enter cells and also model bilayers, but it has not yet been possible to completely describe the way in which they enter. It is proposed that such phenomenon occurs both through endocytic and passive routes and that in the case of the non-endocytic pathways, the degree of membrane disruption depends on the mechanism of translocation and on the amphipathicity of the CPP. The general objective is to understand how peptide transduction occurs, and which are the factors that foster the non-endocytic pathways over the endocytic ones.