NG2 proteoglycan-binding peptides target tumor neovasculature

Michael A. Burg, Renata Pasqualini, Wadih Arap, Erkki Ruoslahti, William B. Stallcup

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160 Scopus citations


NG2 is the rat homologue of the human melanoma proteoglycan, also known as the high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen. This developmentally regulated membrane-spanning chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan is expressed primarily by glial, muscle, and cartilage progenitor cells. Upon maturation, these cell types down-regulate NG2 expression. In adult animals, the expression of NG2 is restricted to tumor cells and angiogenic tumor vasculature, making this proteoglycan a potential target for directing therapeutic agents to relevant sites of action. To this end, we have identified specific NG2-binding peptides by screening a phage-displayed random peptide library on purified NG2. Several rounds of biopanning on NG2 resulted in the specific enrichment of two phage-displayed decapeptides, TAASGVRSMH and LTLRWVGLMS. The binding of these phages to NG2 was inhibitable both by soluble NG2 and by glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins containing the cognate peptide sequences. In addition, direct binding between GST-TAAS-GVRSMH and GST-LTLRWVGLMS fusion proteins and NG2 was demonstrated in solid-phase binding assays. Interestingly, these NG2-binding fusion proteins cross-inhibited each other's binding to NG2, suggesting that the two sequences bind to the same or overlapping sites on the proteoglycan. Upon injection into tumor-bearing mice, NG2-binding phages specifically homed to tumor vasculature in wild-type mice but did not localize to the tumor vasculature in NG2 knockout mice. The in vivo targeting capability of these sequences suggests that they can be used for tumor targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2869-2874
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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