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Identification of folate receptor α (FRα) binding oligopeptides and their evaluation for targeted virotherapy applications

Hulin-Curtis, Sarah, Davies, James A., Nestic, Davor, Bates, Emily A., Baker, Alexander T., Cunliffe, Tabitha G., Majhen, Dragomira, Chester, John D. and Parker, Alan L. 2020. Identification of folate receptor α (FRα) binding oligopeptides and their evaluation for targeted virotherapy applications. Cancer Gene Therapy 27 , pp. 785-798. 10.1038/s41417-019-0156-0

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Oncolytic virotherapies (OV) based on human adenoviral (HAdV) vectors hold significant promise for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancers where local, intraperitoneal delivery to tumour metastases is feasible, bypassing many complexities associated with intravascular delivery. The efficacy of HAdV-C5-based OV is hampered by a lack of tumour selectivity, where the primary receptor, hCAR, is commonly downregulated during malignant transformation. Conversely, folate receptor alpha (FRα) is highly expressed on ovarian cancer cells, providing a compelling target for tumour selective delivery of virotherapies. Here, we identify high-affinity FRα-binding oligopeptides for genetic incorporation into HAdV-C5 vectors. Biopanning identified a 12-mer linear peptide, DWSSWVYRDPQT, and two 7-mer cysteine-constrained peptides, CIGNSNTLC and CTVRTSAEC that bound FRα in the context of the phage particle. Synthesised lead peptide, CTVRTSAEC, bound specifically to FRα and could be competitively inhibited with folic acid. To assess the capacity of the elucidated FRα-binding oligopeptides to target OV to FRα, we genetically incorporated the peptides into the HAdV-C5 fiber-knob HI loop including in vectors genetically ablated for hCAR interactions. Unfortunately, the recombinant vectors failed to efficiently target transduction via FRα due to defective intracellular trafficking following entry via FRα, indicating that whilst the peptides identified may have potential for applications for targeted drug delivery, they require additional refinement for targeted virotherapy applications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 0929-1903
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2019
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2022 15:59

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