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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 19;9(1):2294. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-38592-w.

Cell-Penetrating Protein/Corrole Nanoparticles.

Author information

1
Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000, Israel.
2
Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA.
3
Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA.
4
Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA. JTermini@coh.org.
5
Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA. hbgray@caltech.edu.
6
Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000, Israel. chr10zg@technion.ac.il.

Abstract

Recent work has highlighted the potential of metallocorroles as versatile platforms for the development of drugs and imaging agents, since the bioavailability, physicochemical properties and therapeutic activity can be dramatically altered by metal ion substitution and/or functional group replacement. Significant advances in cancer treatment and imaging have been reported based on work with a water-soluble bis-sulfonated gallium corrole in both cellular and rodent-based models. We now show that cytotoxicities increase in the order Ga < Fe < Al < Mn < Sb < Au for bis-sulfonated corroles; and, importantly, that they correlate with metallocorrole affinities for very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), the main carrier of lipophilic drugs. As chemotherapeutic potential is predicted to be enhanced by increased lipophilicity, we have developed a novel method for the preparation of cell-penetrating lipophilic metallocorrole/serum-protein nanoparticles (NPs). Cryo-TEM revealed an average core metallocorrole particle size of 32 nm, with protein tendrils extending from the core (conjugate size is ~100 nm). Optical imaging of DU-145 prostate cancer cells treated with corrole NPs (≤100 nM) revealed fast cellular uptake, very slow release, and distribution into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and lysosomes. The physical properties of corrole NPs prepared in combination with transferrin and albumin were alike, but the former were internalized to a greater extent by the transferrin-receptor-rich DU-145 cells. Our method of preparation of corrole/protein NPs may be generalizable to many bioactive hydrophobic molecules to enhance their bioavailability and target affinity.

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