Biological activities of histidine-rich peptides; merging biotechnology and nanomedicine

Neus Ferrer-Miralles, José L. Corchero, Pradeep Kumar, Juan A. Cedano, Kailash C. Gupta, Antonio Villaverde*, Esther Vazquez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Histidine-rich peptides are commonly used in recombinant protein production as purification tags, allowing the one-step affinity separation of the His-tagged proteins from the extracellular media or cell extracts. Genetic engineering makes feasible the post-purification His-tag removal by inserting, between the tag and the main protein body, a target site for trans-acting proteases or a self-proteolytic peptide with regulatable activities. However, for technical ease, His tags are often not removed and the fusion proteins eventually used in this form. In this commentary, we revise the powerful biological properties of histidine-rich peptides as endosomolytic agents and as architectonic tags in nanoparticle formation, for which they are exploited in drug delivery and other nanomedical applications. These activities, generally unknown to biotechnologists, can unwillingly modulate the functionality and biotechnological performance of recombinant proteins in which they remain trivially attached.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2011


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