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Keywords:

  • gonadotropin-releasing hormone III;
  • drug targeting;
  • chemotaxis;
  • adhesion;
  • dimer derivative;
  • Tetrahymena

GnRH-III has been shown to exert a cytotoxic effect on the GnRH-R positive tumor cells. The chemotactic drug targeting (CDT) represents a new way for drug delivery approach based on selective chemoattractant guided targeting. The major goal of the present work was to develop and investigate various GnRH-III derivatives as potential targeting moieties for CDT. The cell physiological effects (chemotaxis, adhesion, and signaling) induced by three native GnRHs (hGnRH-I, cGnRH-II, and lGnRH-III) and nine GnRH-III derivatives were evaluated in two model cells (Tetrahymena pyriformis and Mono Mac 6 human monocytes). According to our results, the native GnRH-III elicited the highest chemoattractant and adhesion inducer activities of all synthesized peptides in micromolar concentrations in monocytes. With respect to chemoattraction, dimeric derivatives linked by a disulfide bridge ([GnRH-III(C)]2) proved to be efficient in both model cells; furthermore, acetylation of the linker region ([GnRH-III(Ac-C)]2) could slightly improve the chemotactic and adhesion effects in monocytes. The length of the peptide and the type of N-terminal amino acid could also determine the chemotactic and adhesion modulation potency of each fragment. The application of the chemoattractant GnRH-III derivatives was accompanied by a significant activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in both model cells. In summary, our work on low-level differentiated model cells of tumors has proved that GnRH-III and some of its synthetic derivatives are promising candidates to be applied in CDT: these compounds might act both as carrier, delivery unit, and antitumor agents. Copyright © 2012 European Peptide Society and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.