They found that the important proteins that make up the outer layer of these nanoparticles are degraded by an enzyme called cathepsin L. Scientists now have to take this phenomenon into account and overcome this process to ensure the exciting field of nanomedicine can progress. The research is published today (22 September) in ACS Nano.
Dr Raphaël Lévy, a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow at the University of Liverpool and lead researcher on the project said: “We’ve known for some time that nanoparticles are taken into cells and there have been experiments done to establish their final destinations, but we didn’t know until now what state they are in by the time they get there.”
In most biological applications, nanoparticles are coated with a layer of molecules, often proteins, which determine the use of nanoparticles when they enter cells. The researchers have confirmed, in a wide range of cells, that nanoparticles are taken into a region called the endosome, where this essential coating is degraded by cathepsin L.
Dr Violaine Sée, also a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow at the University of Liverpool, and joint corresponding author, added: “One of the promising applications of nanoparticles in medicine is to use them as a method to deliver therapeutic protein molecules inside cells. For these biological therapies to be effective the proteins have to be maintained with high integrity and unfortunately we have seen this compromised by the degrading action of cathepsin L.”
The design of any intracellular nanodevice must now take into account the possibility of cathepsin L degradation and either bypass the endosome area all together or have some built-in inhibition of the enzyme.
Dr Lévy continued: “The methods we have developed will help with this as we can now measure the location and the state of the nanoparticle quickly and quantitatively.”
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said: “Nanotechnology is an interesting area that has the potential to push all sorts of technological boundaries. There is promise of some useful applications in biology and we’ve already seen some excellent results with the development of nanomagnetic technology to guide therapeutic proteins and DNA to specific sites to treat tumours, for example. Fundamental bioscience research such as this, helps drive forward nanomedicine to ensure it has a real impact on health and wellbeing in the future.”About the University of Liverpool
The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.
Nancy Mendoza | EurekAlert!
Good preparation is half the digestion
15.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
How the gut ‘talks’ to brown fat
16.11.2018 | Technische Universität München
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy