Different mechanisms for cellular internalization of the HIV-1 Tat-derived cell penetrating peptide and recombinant proteins
fused to Tat


E. Vives, Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, CNRS UMR 5124, BP5051, 1919 route de Mende, 34033 Montpellier cedex 1, France. Fax: + 33 467 040231, Tel.: + 33 467 613661, E-mail: vives@igm.cnrs-mop.fr


Translocation through the plasma membrane is a major limiting step for the cellular delivery of macromolecules. A␣promising strategy to overcome this problem consists in the chemical conjugation (or fusion) to cell penetrating peptides (CPP) derived from proteins able to cross the plasma membrane. A large number of different cargo molecules such as oligonucleotides, peptides, peptide nucleic acids, proteins or even nanoparticles have been internalized in cells by this strategy. One of these translocating peptides was derived from the HIV-1 Tat protein. The mechanisms by which CPP enter cells remain unknown. Recently, convincing biochemical and genetic findings has established that the full-length Tat protein was internalized in cells via the ubiquitous heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans. We demonstrate here that the short Tat CPP is taken up by a route that does not involve the HS proteoglycans.