Molecular Targeted Viral Nanoparticles as Tools for Imaging Cancer
Viral nanoparticles (VNPs) are a novel class of bionanomaterials that harness the natural biocompatibility of viruses for the development of therapeutics, vaccines, and imaging tools. The plant virus, cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV), has been successfully engineered to create novel cancer-targeted imaging agents by incorporating fluorescent dyes, polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers, and targeting moieties. Using straightforward conjugation strategies, VNPs with high selectivity for cancer-specific molecular targets can be synthesized for in vivo imaging of tumors. Here we describe the synthesis and purification of CPMV-based VNPs, the functionalization of these VNPs using click chemistry, and their use for imaging xenograft tumors in animal models. VNPs decorated with fluorescent dyes, PEG, and targeting ligands can be synthesized in one day, and imaging studies can be performed over hours, days, or weeks, depending on the application.
Key wordsCowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) Bionanomaterials CPMV-based viral nanoparticles Molecular imaging agents Chemical conjugation Click chemistry Tumor-homing nanoparticles Peptide-based affinity probes
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