A biomimetic pH-responsive polymer directs endosomal release and intracellular delivery of an endocytosed antibody complex.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bioconjugate chemistry, Volume 13, Issue 5, p.996-1001 (2002)


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, CD3, Biotin, Cytoplasm, Drug Delivery Systems, ENDOCYTOSIS, Endosomes, Fluorescent Dyes, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Immunoconjugates, Jurkat Cells, Molecular Mimicry, Phthalic Anhydrides, Polymers, Protein Transport, Streptavidin


Poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAAc) is a synthetic pH-responsive polymer that has been shown to disrupt cell membranes at low pH values typical of the endosome, but not at physiological pH, suggesting its use as an endosomal-releasing agent [Murthy et al. J. Controlled Release 61, 137-43]. We have constructed an antibody-targeted biotherapeutic model to investigate whether PPAAc can enhance intracellular trafficking of proteins to the cytoplasm. A ternary complex composed of a biotinylated anti-CD3 antibody, streptavidin, and biotinylated PPAAc was fluorescently labeled, and its intracellular fate was analyzed by confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, and quantitative western blotting of cell fractionates. The 64.1 anti-CD3 antibody was previously shown to direct receptor-mediated endocytosis in the Jurkat T-cell lymphoma cell line and was rapidly trafficked from the endosome to the lysosomal compartment. The antibody-streptavidin complex was also rapidly internalized to the endosomal/lysosomal compartment and retained there, as evidenced by punctate regions of fluorescence observed by confocal fluorescence microscopy. In samples containing the ternary complex of antibody, streptavidin, and PPAAc-biotin, diffuse fluorescence in the cytoplasm was observed, indicating that PPAAc enhanced translocation to the cytoplasm. This was confirmed by western blotting analysis of the isolated cytoplasm. Flow cytometry results demonstrated that neither streptavidin nor PPAAc caused nonspecific uptake of the complex, nor did they inhibit antibody-mediated endocytosis. The striking enhancement of protein delivery to the cytoplasm by complexed PPAAc suggests that this polymer could provide a new delivery agent for therapeutic, vaccine, and diagnostics development.