TITLE: Branched Oligopeptides Form Nanocapsules with Lipid Vesicle Characteristics

Authors: Pinakin Sukthankar, Sushanth Gudlur, L. Adriana Avila, Susan K. Whitaker, Benjamin B. Katz, Yasuaki Hiromasa, Jian Gao, Prem Thapa, David Moore, Takeo Iwamoto, Jianhan Chen, John M. Tomich

In a recent article (Gudlur et al. PLOS ONE, 2012, 7 (9) e45374), we described the special properties of a mixed branched peptide assembly in which equimolar bis(FLIVI)-K-KKKK and bis(FLIVIGSII)-K-KKKK self-associate to form bilayer delimited capsules capable of trapping solutes. These polycationic vesicle-like capsules are readily taken up by epithelial cells in culture, escape or evade the endocytic pathway, and accumulate in the perinuclear region where they persist without any apparent degradation. In this report, we examine the lipidlike properties of this system including initial assembly; solute encapsulation and washing; fusion and resizing by membrane extrusion through polycarbonate filters with defined pore sizes. The resized peptide capsules have uniform diameters in nm size ranges. Once resized, the capsules can be maintained at the new size by storing them at 4 °C. Having the ability to prepare stable uniform nanoscale capsules of desired sizes makes them potentially attractive as biocompatible delivery vehicles for various solutes/drugs.