PNC-27, a 32-residue peptide that contains an HDM-2 binding domain and a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) leader sequence kills cancer, but not normal, cells by binding to HDM-2 associated with the plasma membrane and induces the formation of pores causing tumor cell lysis and necrosis. Conformational energy calculations on the structure of PNC-27 bound to HDM-2 suggest that 1:1 complexes form between PNC-27 and HDM-2 with the leader sequence pointing away from the complex. Immuno-scanning electron microscopy was carried out with cancer cells treated with PNC-27 and decorated with an anti-PNC-27 antibody coupled to 6 nm gold particles and an anti-HDM-2 antibody linked to 15 nm gold particles. We found multiple 6 nm-and 15 nm-labeled gold particles in approximately 1:1 ratios in layered ring-shaped structures in the pores near the cell surface suggesting that these complexes are important to the pore structure. No pores formed in the control, PNC-27-treated untransformed fibroblasts. Based on the theoretical and immuno-EM studies, we propose that the pores are lined by PNC-27 bound to HDM-2 at the membrane surface with the PNC-27 leader sequence lining the pores or by PNC-27 bound to HDM-2.
- cell-penetrating peptides (CPP)
- p53 binding domain
- plasma membrane pore formation