Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: Targeting cytokines to sites of disease has clear advantages because it increases their therapeutic index. We designed fusion proteins of the latent-associated peptide (LAP) derived from TGF-β with various cytokines via a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavage site. This design confers latency, increased half-life and targeting to sites of inflammation. The aim of this study is to determine whether this approach can be applied to cytokines of different molecular structures and sizes. METHODS: Mature cytokines cloned downstream of LAP and a MMP cleavage site were expressed in 293T cells and assessed for latency and biological activity by Western blotting and bioassay. RESULTS: We demonstrate here that fusion proteins of TGF-β, erythropoietin, IL-1ra, IL-10, IL-4, BMP-7, IGF1 and IL-17 were rendered latent by fusion to LAP, requiring cleavage to become active in respective bioassays. As further proof of principle, we also show that delivery of engineered TGF-β can inhibit experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and that this approach can be used to efficiently deliver cytokines to the brain and spinal cord in mice with this disease. CONCLUSIONS: The latent cytokine approach can be successfully applied to a range of molecules, including cytokines of different molecular structure and mass, growth factors and a cytokine antagonist.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Opin Drug Deliv

Publication Date





5 - 16


Animals, Cell Line, Cells, Cultured, Chick Embryo, Cytokines, Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental, Fibroblasts, HEK293 Cells, HeLa Cells, Humans, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Matrix Metalloproteinase 1, Mice, Mice, Inbred DBA, Mink, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Peptides, Protein Precursors, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Transforming Growth Factor beta