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Internalization and Intracellular Trafficking of Poly(propylene imine) Glycodendrimers with Maltose Shell in Melanoma Cells

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The diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma by means of the formulation of active principles with dendrimeric nanoparticles is an area of great current interest. The identification and understanding of molecular mechanisms which ensure the integration of particular dendrimeric nanostructures in tumor cellular environment can provide valuable guidance in their coupling strategies with antitumor or diagnostic agents. Two structurally distinct maltose-shell modified 5th generation (G5) poly(propylene imine) (PPI) glycodendrimers fluorescently labeled, (a) with open maltose shell, cationic charged G5-PPI-OS and (b) with dense maltose shell and nearly neutral G5-PPI-DS, were tested in relation with several melanoma cell lines. We found that three melanoma cell lines internalize G5-PPI-DS structure more efficiently than non tumoral HEK297T cells. Furthermore, the internalization pathways of G5-PPI-OS and G5-PPI-DS are characteristic for each tumor cell phenotype and include more than one mechanism. As a general trend, large amounts of both G5-PPI-OS and G5-PPI-DS are internalized on cholesterol-dependent pathway in MJS primary melanoma cells and on non conventional pathways in SK28 metastatic melanoma cells. G5-PPI-OS, temporarily retained at plasma membrane in both cell lines, is internalized slower in metastatic than in primary phenotype. Unlike G5-PPI-OS, G5-PPI-DS is immediately endocytosed in both cell lines. The unconventional internalization pathway and trafficking, exclusively used by G5-PPI-DS in metastatic cells, is described at molecular level. The decay kinetics of fluorescent labeled G5-PPI-OS and G5-PPI-DS is distinct in the two cellular phenotypes. Both cationic and neutral maltose G5-PPI glycodendrimeric structures represent molecules based on which designing of new formulations for therapy or/and diagnosis of melanoma can be further developed.
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Keywords: Cellular uptake; glycodendrimers; intracellular trafficking; melanoma; poly(propylene imine) dendrimers; sugar shell

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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