Self-Assembly and Stabilization of Hybrid Cowpea Chlorotic Mottle Virus Particles under Nearly Physiological Conditions

Suzanne B. P. E. Timmermans, Daan F. M. Vervoort, Lise Schoonen, Roeland J. M. Nolte, Jan C. M. van Hest

Published: 16/11/2018


Capsids of the cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV) hold great promise for use as nanocarriers in vivo. A major drawback, however, is the lack of stability of the empty wild-type virus particles under physiological conditions. Herein, the assembly behavior and stability under nearly physiological conditions of protein-based block copolymers composed of the CCMV capsid protein and two hydrophobic elastin-like polypeptides are reported. UV/Vis spectroscopy studies, dynamic light-scattering analysis, and TEM measurements demonstrate that both hybrid variants form stable capsids at pH 7.5, physiological NaCl concentration, and 37 °C. The more hydrophobic variant also remains stable in a cell culture medium. These engineered, hybrid CCMV capsid particles can therefore be regarded as suitable candidates for in vivo applications.

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