Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2023; 28(3): 483-490  
Tumor Homing Peptides as Fusion Partners of Therapeutic Proteins for Efficient Delivery to Cancer Cells
You Eun Lee and Byeong Hee Hwang
You Eun Lee, Byeong Hee Hwang
Department of Bioengineering and Nano-bioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Byeong Hee Hwang*
Division of Bioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Research Center for Bio Material & Process Development, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Institute for New Drug Development, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Tel: +82-32-835-8834; Fax: +82-32-835-0804
Received: May 10, 2022; Revised: June 30, 2022; Accepted: July 1, 2022; Published online: June 30, 2023.
© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
For practical protein therapeutics and diagnostics, it is necessary to develop a method that can effectively and specifically deliver proteins into cells. Therefore, the peptide fusion strategy with an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) was introduced to compare protein delivery efficiency in breast cancer cells among six tumor-homing peptides (THPs). Six THP-fused eGFPs were successfully cloned and expressed recombinantly in Escherichia coli. First, CGKRK-fused eGFP showed concentration-dependent and cell-type-specific protein delivery to MDA-MB-231 due to p32 protein. Second, PL3R-fused eGFP of 50 μg/mL showed more efficient protein delivery than eGFP of 50 μg/mL into MDA-MB-231. Finally, under extended comparison among fusion partners, CTTHWGFTLC peptide showed 581% cellular delivery to MDA-MB-231 cells than eGFP. This finding could help increase protein delivery to specific cancer cells for cancer research and diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Keywords: targeted delivery, tumor homing peptide, recombinant fusion protein, cancer cells, diagnosis

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