Due to the advancement of molecular biology and biotechnology, proteins and peptides are an increasingly important category of therapeutic drugs. Currently, there are at least 120 protein and peptide drugs on the market and an additional 150 in clinical trials. Although gastrointestinal absorption is a desirable route for administration, protein and peptide drugs are administered almost exclusively by injection since no acceptable oral formulations are currently available. This proposal utilizes a fusion protein drug design for oral delivery based on transferrin (Tf) receptor (TfR)-mediated transcytosis in intestinal epithelial cells, and focuses on 3 Tf- fused protein drugs, i.e., granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), human growth hormone (hGH) and proinsulin (ProINS). Various peptide spacers will be designed and inserted between the two domains in the fusion proteins to improve pharmacokinetics, bioavailability and bioactivity. Although the feasibility of TfR- mediated intestinal absorption of protein drugs has been demonstrated in our and others'laboratories, the in vivo modification of either protein domain during trans-epithelial transport is still largely unknown. Thus, part of our 1st specific aim is to explore and identify the modifications, both on carbohydrates or peptide bonds, of Tf during transepithelial transport in the intestine in order to improve bioavailability and efficacy of fusion proteins. Also, plasma half-lives of Tf and of each fusion protein in oral and i.v. administration will be determined, and compared and correlated with the modifications in intestinal epithelial cells that we identify. In our 2nd specific aim, we will investigate the activation of ProINS-Tf into insulin-Tf fusion protein via a TfR-mediated recycling pathway in the intestine and the liver. This activation by selective proteolysis will provide a novel approach to deliver ProINS as an oral hypoglycemic prodrug with slow activation and sustained release from intestinal epithelial cells and/or hepatocytes. Finally, in our 3rd specific aim, we will exploit findings that multivalent TfR binding increases intracellular accumulation and, consequently, transcytosis of Tf. Disulfide-linked oligomers of Tf-fusion protein will be prepared using a novel recombinant, rather than chemical, crosslinking method. Both bioactivity and plasma half-life of oligomeric fusion protein will be compared to its monomeric counterpart. Furthermore, the site of accumulation of oligomeric fusion protein in the oral absorption pathway, i.e., either the intestine or liver, will be identified. At the end of the 5-year project, our overall goal is to identify one or more Tf- fusion protein candidates for further development into effective oral therapeutics for treatment of human diseases. Relevance: Proteins and peptides are an important class of drugs for treating various human diseases;however, they are presently administered only by injection. The objective of this application is to develop recombinant proteins by fusing protein drugs with an iron-carrying protein, transferrin, to promote oral absorption. Such a new generation of protein drugs for convenient effective oral delivery will overcome patient incompliance, high cost, and adverse side effects currently associated with injectable dosage forms.

Public Health Relevance

Proteins and peptides are an important class of drugs for treating various human diseases;however, they are presently administered only by injection. The objective of this application is to develop recombinant proteins by fusing protein drugs with an iron-carrying protein, transferrin, to promote oral absorption. Such a new generation of protein drugs for convenient effective oral delivery will overcome patient incompliance, high cost, and adverse side effects currently associated with injectable dosage forms.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01GM063647-10
Application #
8298125
Study Section
Gene and Drug Delivery Systems Study Section (GDD)
Program Officer
Okita, Richard T
Project Start
2001-08-01
Project End
2015-04-30
Budget Start
2012-05-01
Budget End
2013-04-30
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$281,880
Indirect Cost
$107,880
Name
University of Southern California
Department
Pharmacology
Type
Schools of Pharmacy
DUNS #
072933393
City
Los Angeles
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
90089
Wang, Yan; Shao, Juntang; Zaro, Jennica L et al. (2014) Proinsulin-transferrin fusion protein as a novel long-acting insulin analog for the inhibition of hepatic glucose production. Diabetes 63:1779-88
Chen, Xiaoying; Zaro, Jennica L; Shen, Wei-Chiang (2012) Pharmacokinetics of recombinant bifunctional fusion proteins. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol 8:581-95
Chen, Xiaoying; Lee, Hsin-Fang; Zaro, Jennica L et al. (2011) Effects of receptor binding on plasma half-life of bifunctional transferrin fusion proteins. Mol Pharm 8:457-65
Wang, Yan; Chen, Yu-Sheng; Zaro, Jennica L et al. (2011) Receptor-mediated activation of a proinsulin-transferrin fusion protein in hepatoma cells. J Control Release 155:386-92
Amet, Nurmamet; Wang, Wei; Shen, Wei-Chiang (2010) Human growth hormone-transferrin fusion protein for oral delivery in hypophysectomized rats. J Control Release 141:177-82
Chen, Xiaoying; Bai, Yun; Zaro, Jennica L et al. (2010) Design of an in vivo cleavable disulfide linker in recombinant fusion proteins. Biotechniques 49:513-8
Norouziyan, Fariba; Shen, Wei-Chiang; Hamm-Alvarez, Sarah F (2008) Tyrphostin A8 stimulates a novel trafficking pathway of apically endocytosed transferrin through Rab11-enriched compartments in Caco-2 cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 294:C7-21
Lim, Ching-Jou; Norouziyan, Fariba; Shen, Wei-Chiang (2007) Accumulation of transferrin in Caco-2 cells: a possible mechanism of intestinal transferrin absorption. J Control Release 122:393-8
Bai, Yun; Shen, Wei-Chiang (2006) Improving the oral efficacy of recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and transferrin fusion protein by spacer optimization. Pharm Res 23:2116-21
Lim, Ching-Jou; Shen, Wei-Chiang (2005) Comparison of monomeric and oligomeric transferrin as potential carrier in oral delivery of protein drugs. J Control Release 106:273-86

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