American Chemical Society
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Nanoengineering Carboxysome Shells for Protein Cages with Programmable Cargo Targeting

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-08, 03:03 authored by Tianpei Li, Ping Chang, Weixian Chen, Zhaoyang Shi, Chunling Xue, Gregory F. Dykes, Fang Huang, Qiang Wang, Lu-Ning Liu
Protein nanocages have emerged as promising candidates for enzyme immobilization and cargo delivery in biotechnology and nanotechnology. Carboxysomes are natural proteinaceous organelles in cyanobacteria and proteobacteria and have exhibited great potential in creating versatile nanocages for a wide range of applications given their intrinsic characteristics of self-assembly, cargo encapsulation, permeability, and modularity. However, how to program intact carboxysome shells with specific docking sites for tunable and efficient cargo loading is a key question in the rational design and engineering of carboxysome-based nanostructures. Here, we generate a range of synthetically engineered nanocages with site-directed cargo loading based on an α-carboxysome shell in conjunction with SpyTag/SpyCatcher and Coiled-coil protein coupling systems. The systematic analysis demonstrates that the cargo-docking sites and capacities of the carboxysome shell-based protein nanocages could be precisely modulated by selecting specific anchoring systems and shell protein domains. Our study provides insights into the encapsulation principles of the α-carboxysome and establishes a solid foundation for the bioengineering and manipulation of nanostructures capable of capturing cargos and molecules with exceptional efficiency and programmability, thereby enabling applications in catalysis, delivery, and medicine.

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