Discovery of a phosphatidylserine-recognizing peptide and its utility in molecular imaging of tumour apoptosis

Narendra Thapa, Soyoun Kim, In Sup So, Byung Heon Lee, Ick Chan Kwon, Kuiwon Choi, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


The exposure of phosphatidylserine (PS) molecules from the inner to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane has been recognized as a well-defined molecular epitope of cells undergoing apoptosis. Examination and monitoring of PS exposure is an extensively used molecular marker in non-invasive apoptosis imaging under a variety of clinical conditions, including the assessment of therapeutic anti-cancer agents and myocardial infarction. Herein, we report the identification of a PS-recognizing peptide which was identified by the screening of an M13 phage display peptide library onto PS-coated ELISA plates. Repeated biopanning for a total of four rounds revealed a predominant enrichment of the phage clone displaying peptide sequence, CLSYYPSYC (46%). The identified phage clone evidenced enhanced binding to a number of apoptotic cells over non-apoptotic cells, and this binding was inhibited by both annexin V and synthesized peptide displayed on the phage. The binding of the fluorescein-labelled CLSYYPSYC peptide to apoptotic versus normal cells was assessed by both FACS analysis and fluorescence microscopy. Optical imaging after the systemic administration of fluorescein-labelled CLSYYPSYC peptide to tumour-bearing nude mice (H460 cells xenograft model) treated with a single dose of an anticancer drug (camp-tothecin) indicated peptide homing to the tumour. The histological examination of tumour tissues showed intense staining of the tumour vasculature and apoptotic tumour cells. With these results, the CLSYYPSYC peptide is recognized as a novel PS-recognizing moiety which may possibly be developed into a molecular probe for the imaging of apoptosis in vivo. This application would clearly be relevant to assessments of the efficacy of anticancer therapy in tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1660
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number5A
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept


  • Annexin V
  • Apoptosis
  • Peptide
  • Phage display
  • Phosphatidylserine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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