Developing a Drug Delivery and Imaging System on a Virus-Like Particle Platform
Nanoparticle based therapeutics have been proved to improve therapeutic efficacy and reduce the off-target toxicity. However, poor monodispersity and long term bioaccumulation toxicity have been the obstacles for the biomedical applications. Viruses-like particles (VLPs) have emerged as promising natural nanoparticles, which are monodisperse, non-infectious and biodegradable. Each VLP is usually composed of hundreds of identical subunits, leading to a highly ordered quaternary structure and repetitive particle surface. These unique characteristics allow VLP to be chemically functionalized precisely and periodically. The proteinaceous viral capsids are a robust platform, and solvent exposed amino acids such as lysine, cysteine and tyrosine can be orthogonally modified with variety of bioconjugation techniques. Bacteriophage Qβ is one of the well-studied VLPs, which is 28 nm in diameter and composed of 180 identical coat proteins. In my study, Qβ was used as a robust platform for conjugation-induced fluorescent labelling for the application of in vitro cell tracking and developing a photocaged carrier for stimuli-responsive drug release.