Background Transmembrane delivery of active peptides and proteins, including skin delivery of cosmeceutical proteins such as collagen and elastin, has been a challenging issue. Amphipathic cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been proposed as carrier peptides to mediate cellular uptake of proteins without covalent binding.
Materials and methods In this study, we have used a short peptide, Pep-1, as our CPP to transport elastin into fibroblast cells. Different ratios of Pep-1/elastin complexes were produced by using a fixed amount of elastin and different molar ratio of Pep-1. The ability of transduction into cells was determined by fluorescence microscopy. The characteristics of Pep-1/elastin complexes were monitored using scanning electron microscopy and photon correlation spectroscopy.
Results No cellular toxicity was observed in cells treated with Pep-1/elastin complex. Finally, we determined a Pep-1 : elastin ratio of 10 : 1 as the most effective ratio in cellular delivery of elastin.
Conclusion Pep-1 mediated fast and effective delivery of elastin as a cosmetic protein into fibroblast cells in the treatment of skin-aging symptoms.