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Engineering building blocks for self-assembling protein nanoparticles

By Esther Vázquez and Antonio Villaverde


Like natural viruses, manmade protein cages for drug delivery are to be ideally formed by repetitive subunits with self-assembling properties, mimicking viral functions and molecular organization. Naturally formed nanostructures (such as viruses, flagella or simpler protein oligomers) can be engineered to acquire specific traits of interest in biomedicine, for instance through the addition of cell targeting agents for desired biodistribution and specific delivery of associated drugs. However, fully artificial constructs would be highly desirable regarding finest tuning and adaptation to precise therapeutic purposes. Although engineering of protein assembling is still in its infancy, arising principles and promising strategies of protein manipulation point out the rational construction of nanoscale protein cages as a feasible concept, reachable through conventional recombinant DNA technologies and microbial protein production

Topics: Commentary
Publisher: BioMed Central
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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