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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 Jan 30;11(4):3645-3653. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b15390. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Charge-Selective Delivery of Proteins Using Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Fused with Lipid Bilayers.

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Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Functional Polymer, College of Chemistry and Environmental Engineering , Shenzhen University , Shenzhen , Guangdong 518060 , China.
CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, CAS High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Department of Chemistry , University of Science and Technology of China , Hefei , Anhui 230026 , China.


Efficient and safe intracellular delivery of proteins is highly desired in the development of protein therapeutics. Current methods of protein delivery commonly suffer from low loading efficiency, low stability in serum, and lack of versatility for different proteins. Here, we developed a platform for efficient protein delivery using mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) with lipid fusion. By different surface modifications on MSN, the positively charged MSN (MSN+) and the negatively charged MSN (MSN-), were generated for loading different proteins. The cargo proteins, based on the surface charges, can be selectively loaded in very high efficiency. The protein-loaded MSNs were fused with liposomes to form a protocell-like delivery system (MSN-LP) in order to prevent burst release of proteins. The lipid fusion significantly increases the stability of the nanosystem in physiological conditions, and the MSN-LP protocell can efficiently deliver proteins into cells. The cargo proteins can be released in cells in a sustained manner. Fifteen different proteins, including two protein complexes, were tested using this delivery system. Further analyses indicate that the proteins can maintain their functions after delivery into cells. Fluorescent proteins, GFP, and KillerRed show fluorescence in cells, indicating the correct folding of proteins during encapsulation and delivery. Protein activity analysis shows that KillerRed protein can generate ROS in cells, while SOD can eliminate ROS in cells. Hence, the proteins delivered by this system remain their structure and function in cells. This work provides a versatile strategy for charge-selective delivery of proteins with high loading efficiency and high stability.


charge-selective protein loading; intracellular protein delivery; lipid bilayer fusion; mesoporous silica nanoparticles; sustained release

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