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Stable Disk Assemblies of a Tobacco Mosaic Virus Mutant as Nanoscale Scaffolds for Applications in Drug Delivery.

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Current approaches to nanoscale therapeutic delivery rely on the attachment of a drug of interest to a nanomaterial scaffold that is capable of releasing the drug selectively in a tumor environment. One class of nanocarriers receiving significant attention is protein nanomaterials, which are biodegradable and homogeneous in morphology and can be equipped with multiple functional handles for drug attachment. Although most protein-based nanocarriers are spherical in morphology, recent research has revealed that nonspherical nanomaterials may have favorable tumor uptake in comparison to their spherical counterparts. It is therefore important to expand the number of nonspherical protein-based nanocarriers that are available. Herein, we report the development of a self-assembling nanoscale disk derived from a double arginine mutant of recombinantly expressed tobacco mosaic virus coat protein (RR-TMV). RR-TMV disks display highly stable double-disk assembly states. These RR-TMV disks were functionalized with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (DOX) and further modified with polyethylene glycol (PEG) for improved solubility. RR-TMVDOX-PEG displayed cytotoxic properties similar to those of DOX alone when incubated with U87MG glioblastoma cells, but unmodified RR-TMV did not cause any cytotoxicity. The RR-TMV disk assembly represents a promising protein-based nanomaterial for applications in drug delivery.

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