Nanosized artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs), synthetic immune cell mimics that aim to activate T cells ex or in vivo, offer an effective alternative to cellular immunotherapies. However, comprehensive studies that delineate the effect of nano-aAPC topology, including nanoparticle morphology and ligand density, are lacking. Here, we systematically studied the topological effects of polymersome-based aAPCs on T cell activation. We employed an aAPC library created from biodegradable poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(d,l-lactide) (PEG-PDLLA) polymersomes with spherical or tubular shape and variable sizes, which were functionalized with αCD3 and αCD28 antibodies at controlled densities. Our results indicate that high ligand density leads to enhancement in T cell activation, which can be further augmented by employing polymersomes with larger size. At low ligand density, the effect of both polymersome shape and size was more pronounced, showing that large elongated polymersomes better activate T cells compared to their spherical or smaller counterparts. This study demonstrates the capacity of polymersomes as aAPCs and highlights the role of topology for their rational design.
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