About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Method Aids Study of Promising Targeted Drug Delivery Scaffold

by Colleen Fleiss on April 15, 2018 at 10:46 PM
Font : A-A+

New Method Aids Study of Promising Targeted Drug Delivery Scaffold

Northwestern-UC Berkeley collaboration develops novel technique for studying self-assembling virus shell with potential for medical applications.

Viruses have shells that are built to survive in harsh conditions, protecting their cargo until they find a cell to infect. The shell can be used for good, however, because that stability makes it suitable for protecting more useful cargo, such as medications, that can be delivered to specifically-targeted cells. The research focused on a protein used by a bacterial virus called the MS2 bacteriophage. This protein can self-assemble, creating a harmless scaffolding out of the viral shell, said Danielle Tullman-Ercek, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering.

Advertisement


"In biology, everything has its place. Biology is great like that -- except we don't know the rules," Tullman-Ercek said. "Our discovery was the method for determining those design rules." The study, done in collaboration with chemistry professor Matthew Francis and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley, took more than two years. The results were published on April 11 in the journal Nature Communications.

The work allowed the researchers to examine which specific protein mutations broke the virus scaffold or changed the properties of the structure. To do that, the team developed a new technique called SyMAPS (Systematic Mutation and Assembled Particle Selection), which separated out the mutated scaffold proteins that remained intact from those that broke apart during mutation. In total, the team tested nearly 2,600 versions of the protein, which makes up the closed-shell, soccer-ball-like scaffold.
Advertisement

"The MS2 scaffold protein has 129 positions where we can make an substitutions, replacing the existing amino acid at that position with all other amino acids," said Emily Hartman, a fourth-year PhD candidate in chemistry at UC Berkeley and lead author on the paper. "By swapping all 20 naturally-occurring amino acids, one at a time, at every position in the protein, we end up testing 20 variables at 129 positions."

The team believes that understanding how mutations change the scaffolding provides important insight into how these repurposed virus proteins could be used in medicine. "The scaffold you want for drug delivery might be different than what you would want for a vaccine," Tullman-Ercek said. "We might want to change the properties of charge on the surface to get better targeting or add something to the inside of the structure, like loading it with a sensor or diagnostic recorder." For instance, a structure that falls apart in a specific environment could help targeted drug delivery, such as chemotherapy. "One of the things we did in the study was to look for mutants sensitive to acid," Hartman said. "The bloodstream isn't acidic, but once inside a cancer cell, it's a lot more acidic. If the scaffold falls apart in acidic environments, it would release the drug inside a cancer cell more easily."

A structure less tolerant to acidic conditions was found, and the team will continue work in this area. In addition, the study offers insight into what might naturally arise in a mutating virus, such as influenza. "This could give us an idea of which places in the virus could have a higher rate of mutation. That information could be used by scientists to develop new vaccines," Tullman-Ercek said. The team and their colleagues at both universities will use the work as the foundation of specific applications for the viral scaffold, she said. "This paper is really a first step in a larger set of stories," Hartman said. "There is a lot of ongoing work in this collaboration between the universities. I'm excited to see where it goes.

The study builds on Tullman-Ercek's earlier work, which found that a single amino acid mutation in the same MS2 bacteriophage scaffold drastically changed its size. Tullman-Ercek serves as a faculty member within Northwestern's Center for Synthetic Biology. The two-year-old center brings together scientists from engineering, medicine, physics, and computer science interested in manipulating biology to help society. Much of synthetic biology focuses on changing a cell by changing its DNA, creating new specialized products.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Oral Health And AIDS Drug Toxicity AIDS/HIV AIDS/HIV - Epidemiology AIDS/HIV - Clinical Features AIDS/HIV - Health Education AIDS/HIV - Prevention And Transmission AIDS / HIV - Treatment AIDS/HIV- Lab Tests and Faqs AIDS - Initial Theories and Disease Progression 

Recommended Reading
Drug Delivery System
Drug delivery systems, is a technology using various chemicals to bind the target drugs, carry them ...
Oncology Drug Delivery Systems
Drug delivery in oncology offers a localized, prolonged and protected drug interaction with the ......
Quiz on Vaccination / Immunization
Vaccines are given to protect us from several infections that often cause disability and even ......
Travel Vaccination Calculator
Find out about travel shots or vaccination before you travel to your destination country. Travel ......
AIDS - Initial Theories and Disease Progression
AIDS was first detected in early 1980s, among gays, Haitians and black Africans. HIV is a descendant...
AIDS / HIV - Treatment
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about the treatment for AIDS/HIV...
AIDS/HIV
"AIDS is an epidemic disease, a potentially preventable, deadly infection for which there is no cure...
AIDS/HIV - Clinical Features
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about HIV Clinical Features...
AIDS/HIV - Epidemiology
AIDS or HIV is an epidemic disease, a potentially deadly infection that can be prevented with preca...
AIDS/HIV - Health Education
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about AIDS information and health education....
AIDS/HIV - Prevention And Transmission
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about the prevention for AIDS/HIV...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Oral Health And AIDS
AIDS has taken on massive proportions in modern times. It is estimated that over 15 million people a...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use