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Biomaterials. 2017 Jan;112:176-191. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.09.035. Epub 2016 Oct 8.

Micellar nanocomplexes for biomagnetic delivery of intracellular proteins to dictate axon formation during neuronal development.

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Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA. Electronic address:


During mammalian embryonic development, neurons polarize to create distinct cellular compartments of axon and dendrite that inherently differ in form and function, providing the foundation for directional signaling in the nervous system. Polarization results from spatio-temporal segregation of specific proteins' activities to discrete regions of the neuron to dictate axonal vs. dendritic fate. We aim to manipulate axon formation by directed subcellular localization of crucial intracellular protein function. Here we report critical steps toward the development of a nanotechnology for localized subcellular introduction and retention of an intracellular kinase, LKB1, crucial regulator of axon formation. This nanotechnology will spatially manipulate LKB1-linked biomagnetic nanocomplexes (LKB1-NCs) in developing rodent neurons in culture and in vivo. We created a supramolecular assembly for LKB1 rapid neuronal uptake and prolonged cytoplasmic stability. LKB1-NCs retained kinase activity and phosphorylated downstream targets. NCs were successfully delivered to cultured embryonic hippocampal neurons, and were stable in the cytoplasm for 2 days, sufficient time for axon formation. Importantly, LKB1-NCs promoted axon formation in these neurons, representing unique proof of concept for the sufficiency of intracellular protein function in dictating a central developmental event. Lastly, we established NC delivery into cortical progenitors in live rat embryonic brain in utero. Our nanotechnology provides a viable platform for spatial manipulation of intracellular protein-activity, to dictate central events during neuronal development.


Axon development; Biomagnetic nanotechnology; Chitosan micelles; Hippocampal neurons; LKB1 kinase; Magnetic nanoparticles

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