The internalization of bioactive molecules is one of the most critical problems to overcome in theranostics. In order to improve pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, synthetic transporters are widely investigated. A new nanotechnological transporter, gH625, is based on a viral peptide sequence derived from the herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein H (gH) that has proved to be a useful delivery vehicle, due to its intrinsic properties of inducing membrane perturbation. The peptide functionalization with several kinds of nanoparticles like quantum dots, dendrimers, and liposomes could be of particular interest in biomedical applications to improve drug release within cells, to increase site-specific action, and eventually to reduce related cytotoxicity.
Biological membranes represent a critical hindrance for administering active molecules which are often unable to reach their designated intracellular target sites. In order to overcome this barrier-like behavior not easily circumvented by many pharmacologically-active molecules, synthetic transporters have been exploited to promote cellular uptake. Linking or complexing therapeutic molecules to peptides that can translocate through the cellular membranes could enhance their internal delivery, and consequently, a higher amount of active compound would reach the site of action. Use of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) is one of the most promising strategy to efficiently translocate macromolecules through the plasma membrane, and have attracted a lot of attention. New translocating peptides are continuously described and in the present review, we will focus on viral derived peptides, and in particular a peptide (gH625) derived from the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein H (gH) that has proved to be a useful delivery vehicle due to its intrinsic properties of inducing membrane perturbation.