Using FRET to Measure the Time it Takes for a Cell to Destroy a Virus

The emergence of viral nanotechnology over the preceding two decades has created a number of intellectually captivating possible translational applications; however, the in vitro fate of the viral nanoparticles in cells remains an open question. Herein, we investigate the stability and lifetime of virus-like particle (VLP) Qβ - a representative and popular VLP for several applications - following cellular uptake. By exploiting the available functional handles on the viral surface, we have orthogonally installed the known FRET pair, FITC and Rhodamine B, to gain insight of the particle’s behavior in vitro. Based on these data, we believe VLPs undergo aggregation in addition to the anticipated proteolysis within a few hours of cellular uptake.