Programmable in vitro Co-Encapsidation of Guest Proteins Inside Protein Nanocages

01 February 2018, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Bioinspired self-sorting and self-assembling systems using engineered versions of natural protein cages have been developed for biocatalysis and therapeutic delivery. The packaging and intracellular delivery of guest proteins is of particular interest for both in vitro and in vivo cell engineering. However, there is a lack of platforms in bionanotechnology that combine programmable guest protein encapsidation with efficient intracellular uptake. We report a minimal peptide anchor for in vivo self-sorting of cargo-linked capsomeres of the Murine polyomavirus (MPyV) major coat protein that enables controlled encapsidation of guest proteins by in vitro self-assembly. Using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) we demonstrate the flexibility in this system to support co-encapsidation of multiple proteins. Complementing these ensemble measurements with single particle analysis by super-resolution microscopy shows that the stochastic nature of co-encapsidation is an overriding principle. This has implications for the design and deployment of both native and engineered self-sorting encapsulation systems and for the assembly of infectious virions. Taking advantage of the encoded affinity for sialic acids ubiquitously displayed on the surface of mammalian cells, we demonstrate the ability of self-assembled MPyV virus-like particles to mediate efficient delivery of guest proteins to the cytosol of primary human cells. This platform for programmable co-encapsidation and efficient cytosolic delivery of complementary biomolecules therefore has enormous potential in cell engineering.


Host-guest systems
virus-like particles
mosaic particles
protein delivery
intracellular delivery
protein transfection

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information 20180124


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.