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January 22nd, 2007
A designer protein coat for polymer nanoparticles
Dutch scientists can tune the size of protein-coated polymer nanoparticles for drug delivery applications ("Monodisperse polymer-virus hybrid nanoparticles").
Jeroen Cornelissen at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and colleagues combined the coat protein of a plant virus with polystyrene sulfonate to make highly stable nanoparticles. Coat proteins surround a virus and are thought to have the potential to self-assemble and encapsulate and transport drugs or DNA. The proteins normally form a cage, made up of 90 sub-units, that encapsulates a strand of RNA. This gives a highly defined 28 nanometre virus particle. But by replacing the RNA with a polymer, Cornelissen made smaller particles that are just 16 nanometres across.
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