Temoporfin (mTHPC) is one of the most promising photosensitizers used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). Despite its clinical use, the lipophilic character of mTHPC still hampers the full exploitation of its potential. Low solubility in water, high tendency to aggregate, and low biocompatibility are the main limitations because they cause poor stability in physiological environments, dark toxicity, and ultimately reduce the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Applying a reverse docking approach, here, we identified a number of blood transport proteins able to bind and disperse monomolecularly mTHPC, namely apohemoglobin, apomyoglobin, hemopexin, and afamin. We validated the computational results synthesizing the mTHPC-apomyoglobin complex (mTHPC@apoMb) and demonstrated that the protein monodisperses mTHPC in a physiological environment. The mTHPC@apoMb complex preserves the imaging properties of the molecule and improves its ability to produce ROS via both type I and type II mechanisms. The effectiveness of photodynamic treatment using the mTHPC@apoMb complex was then demonstrated in vitro. Blood transport proteins can be used as molecular “Trojan horses” in cancer cells by conferring mTHPC (i) water solubility, (ii) monodispersity, and (iii) biocompatibility, ultimately bypassing the current limitations of mTHPC.

Identification of Blood Transport Proteins to Carry Temoporfin: A Domino Approach from Virtual Screening to Synthesis and In Vitro PDT Testing

Marconi A.;Giugliano G.;Di Giosia M.;Marforio T. D.;Turrini E.;Fimognari C.;Zerbetto F.;Mattioli E. J.
;
Calvaresi M.
2023

Abstract

Temoporfin (mTHPC) is one of the most promising photosensitizers used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). Despite its clinical use, the lipophilic character of mTHPC still hampers the full exploitation of its potential. Low solubility in water, high tendency to aggregate, and low biocompatibility are the main limitations because they cause poor stability in physiological environments, dark toxicity, and ultimately reduce the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Applying a reverse docking approach, here, we identified a number of blood transport proteins able to bind and disperse monomolecularly mTHPC, namely apohemoglobin, apomyoglobin, hemopexin, and afamin. We validated the computational results synthesizing the mTHPC-apomyoglobin complex (mTHPC@apoMb) and demonstrated that the protein monodisperses mTHPC in a physiological environment. The mTHPC@apoMb complex preserves the imaging properties of the molecule and improves its ability to produce ROS via both type I and type II mechanisms. The effectiveness of photodynamic treatment using the mTHPC@apoMb complex was then demonstrated in vitro. Blood transport proteins can be used as molecular “Trojan horses” in cancer cells by conferring mTHPC (i) water solubility, (ii) monodispersity, and (iii) biocompatibility, ultimately bypassing the current limitations of mTHPC.
2023
Marconi A.; Giugliano G.; Di Giosia M.; Marforio T.D.; Trivini M.; Turrini E.; Fimognari C.; Zerbetto F.; Mattioli E.J.; Calvaresi M.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
pharmaceutics-15-00919.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 3.79 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
3.79 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/948770
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 3
  • Scopus 3
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 3
social impact