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Scientists engineer nanoscale vaults to encapsulate 'nanodisks' for drug delivery
Date:5/3/2011

cule therapeutic compounds into vaults is critical to their development for drug delivery.

Recombinant vaults are nonimmunogenic and have undergone significant engineering, including cell-surface receptor targeting and the encapsulation of a wide variety of proteins.

"A vault is a naturally occurring protein particle and so it causes no harm to the body," said Rome, CNSI associate director and a professor of biological chemistry. "These vaults release therapeutics slowly, like a strainer, through tiny, tiny holes, which provides great flexibility for drug delivery."

The internal cavity of the recombinant vault nanoparticle is large enough to hold hundreds of drugs, and because vaults are the size of small microbes, a vault particle containing drugs can easily be taken up into targeted cells.

With the goal of creating a vault capable of encapsulating therapeutic compounds for drug delivery, UCLA doctoral student Daniel Buhler designed a strategy to package another nanoparticle, known as a nanodisk (ND), into the vault's inner cavity, or lumen.

"By packaging drug-loaded NDs into the vault lumen, the ND and its contents would be shielded from the external medium," Buehler said. "Moreover, given the large vault interior, it is conceivable that multiple NDs could be packaged, which would considerably increase the localized drug concentration."

According to researcher Zhou, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and director of the CNSI's Electron Imaging Center for NanoMachines, electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography studies have revealed that both endogenous and recombinant vaults have a thin protein shell enclosing a large internal volume of about 100,000 cubic nanometers, which could potentially hold hundreds to thousands of small-molecular-weight compounds.

"These features make recombinant vaults an attractive target for engineering as a platform for drug de
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Contact: Jennifer Marcus
jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu
310-267-4839
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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