Investigation of the Biological Impact of Charge Distribution on a NTR1-Targeted Peptide

Yinnong Jia, Wenting Zhang, Wei Fan, Susan Brusnahan, Jered Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The neurotensin receptor 1 (NTR1) has been shown to be a promising target, due to its increased level of expression relative to normal tissue, for pancreatic and colon cancers. This has prompted the development of a variety of NTR1-targeted radiopharmaceuticals, based on the neurotensin (NT) peptide, for diagnostic and radiotherapeutic applications. A major obstacle for the clinical translation of NTR1-targeted radiotherapeutics would likely be nephrotoxicity due to the high levels of kidney retention. It is well-known that for many peptide-based agents, renal uptake is influenced by the overall molecular charge. Herein, we investigated the effect of charge distribution on receptor binding and kidney retention. Using the [(N-α-Me)Arg8,Dmt11,Tle12]NT(6-13) targeting vector, three peptides (177Lu-K2, 177Lu-K4, and 177Lu-K6), with the Lys moved closer (K6) or further away (K2) from the pharmacophore, were synthesized. In vitro competitive binding, internalization and efflux, and confocal microscopy studies were conducted using the NTR1-positive HT-29, human colon cancer cell line. The 177/natLu-K6 demonstrated the highest binding affinity (21.8 ± 1.2 nM) and the highest level of internalization (4.06% ± 0.20% of the total added amount). In vivo biodistribution, autoradiography, and metabolic studies of 177Lu-radiolabeled K2, K4, and K6 were examined using CF-1 mice. 177Lu-K4 and 177Lu-K6 gave the highest levels of in vivo uptake in NTR1-positive tissues, whereas 177Lu-K2 yielded nearly 2-fold higher renal uptake relative to the other radioconjugates. In conclusion, the position of the Lys (positively charged amino acid) influences the receptor binding, internalization, in vivo NTR1-targeting efficacy, and kidney retention profile of the radioconjugates. In addition, we have found that hydrophobicity likely play a role in the unique biodistribution profiles of these agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2658-2668
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 16 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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