Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 2509–2513 | Cite as

Application of Plant Viruses as Nano Drug Delivery Systems

  • Yupeng Ren
  • Sek Man Wong
  • Lee Yong Lim


Nano-sized drug delivery systems based on virus-derived platforms have promising delivery and targeting efficiencies. To date, much of our understanding of these systems is obtained from studies of animal viruses. Application of plant viruses for drug delivery is in the nascent stage, but it is becoming apparent that plant viral particles can be engineered to possess novel properties to meet the unique requirements of targeted drug delivery. Chemical functionalization of a plant viral particle surface can impart stealth properties to prolong in vivo circulation half-life and/or targeting capability to direct drug delivery to diseased tissues. The amino acid sequence of the viral coat protein can be genetically manipulated to yield protein cages of specific chemistry and morphology, while the conformation of the protein cage can be directed, via the external environment, to disassemble, then reassemble in vitro to exchange native viral genomic material with exogenous cargo. The purpose of this commentary is to evaluate current literature to assess the potential of nano-scale plant-virus-based drug delivery systems for the targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic agents.


coat protein drug delivery plant virus protein cage 



coat protein


Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus


Cowpea mosaic virus


Cucumber Mosaic Virus




Hibiscus chlorotic ringspot virus


molecular weight


3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide


polyethylene glycol


polystyrenesulfonic acid


protein cage


Red clover necrotic mosaic virus


tetraethylene glycol


Tobacco mosaic virus



This work was supported by the ARF grants R-148-000-045-112 and R-154-000-252-112 from the National University of Singapore (NUS).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica,Chinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences,National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Temasek Life Sciences LaboratorySingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Pharmacy Program School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical SciencesUniversity of Western Australia (M315)CrawleyAustralia

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