Protein transduction domain of translationally controlled tumor protein: characterization and application in drug delivery

Jeehye Maeng, Kyunglim Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Our research group reported in 2011 the discovery of a novel cell-penetrating moiety in the N-terminus of the human translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP). This moiety was responsible for the previously noted membrane translocating ability of purified full-length TCTP. The hydrophobic nature of TCTP-derived protein transduction domain (TCTP-PTD) endowed it with unique characteristics compared to other well-known cationic PTDs, such as TAT-PTD. TCTP-PTD internalizes partly through lipid-raft/caveolae-dependent endocytosis and partly by macropinocytosis. After cell entry, caveosome-laden TCTP-PTD appears to move to the cytoplasm and cytoskeleton except for the nucleus possibly through the movement to endoplasmic reticulum (ER). TCTP-PTD efficiently facilitates delivery of various types of cargos, such as peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo. It is noteworthy that TCTP-PTD and its variants promote intranasal delivery of antidiabetics including, insulin and exendin-4 and of antigens for immunization in vivo, suggesting its potential for drug delivery. In this review, we attempted to describe recent advances in the understanding regarding the identification of TCTP-PTD, the characteristics of its cellular uptake, and the usefulness as a vehicle for delivery into cells of a variety of drugs and macromolecules. Our investigative efforts are continuing further to delineate the details of the functions and the regulatory mechanisms of TCTP-PTD-mediated cellular penetration and posttranslational modification of TCTP in physiologic and pathological processes. This is a review of what we currently know regarding TCTP-PTD and its use as a vehicle for the transduction of drugs and other molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3009-3021
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Delivery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Cell-penetrating peptide
  • drug delivery
  • protein transduction domain
  • translationally controlled tumor protein
  • translocation mechanism


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