Background: α3β1 integrin is overexpressed in several types of human cancer and is associated with poor prognosis, metastasis, and resistance to cancer treatment. We previously identified a cyclic peptide ligand LXY1 that specifically binds to the α3β1 integrin on human glioblastoma U-87MG cells. Here, we optimized LXY1 through one-bead one-compound combinatorial library screening and site-specific modifications to improve its in vivo binding property. Methods: Three bead libraries were synthesized and whole-cell binding assays were performed. The binding capacity of individual peptide ligands against different tumor cells was determined by flow cytometry and confirmed by optical imaging. A complex joining biotinylated ligand with streptavidin-Cy5.5 was used for in vivo target imaging in both subcutaneous and orthotopic U-87MG xenograft mouse models. Results: LXY30, a cyclic peptide with the sequence cdG-Phe(3,5-diF)-G-Hyp-NcR, emerged as the most potent and selective ligand for the α3 subunit of α3β1 integrin with improved in vitro and in vivo tumor-targeting effects compared to LXY1 in U-87MG cells. LXY30 is considerably stable in plasma as demonstrated in an in vitro stability study in 90 % human plasma. LXY30 also binds to several other known α3β1 integrin-expressing glioblastoma, lung, and breast cancer cell lines with various affinities. Conclusions: Our data support further investigating the role of LXY30 as a human tumor-targeting peptide ligand for systemic and intracranial delivery of imaging agents and cancer therapeutics.
- Cancer-targeting peptide
- One-bead one-compound combinatorial peptide library
- Optical imaging
- α3β1 integrin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging