Genetically Encoded Nanoparticles

Dr. Or Shemesh Department of Bioengineering, Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Nanoparticles (NPs) offer multiple applications in disease therapeutics, drug delivery, imaging and diagnostics. However, using NPs in living cells or specimens can be very challenging, as they aggregate and often fail to reach the target cell or organelle. We can potentially overcome the issues of aggregation and targeting by having the NPs of interest made by the cells, using their own genetic machinery. To produce NPs in cells, our group can express genes that encode nanoscale proteins that operate as intracellular ‘reactors’. These proteins, together with reducing agents, can form intracellular nanoparticles in the following manner. Following the expression of NPforming reactors, the cell are presented with subtoxic concentrations of salts containing metal ions (such as Ag2+, Au2+, Fe3+). Once these metal ions enter the cell and the reactors, they are reduced to form metal or metal-oxide NPs. We hypothesize that creating genetically encoded NPs (GENPs) can yield high efficacy imaging and therapies. We will optimize the application of GENPs as antineoplastic strategies, magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents and high-resolution intracellular labels. This project describes the innovative field of genetic nanotechnology, to study and develop breakthrough treatments for human disease.   

תאריך עדכון אחרון : 10/05/2022