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Membrane Fusion Mediated Intracellular Delivery of Lipid Bilayer Coated Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

Alexander Kros and co-workers describe how mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are delivered into cells via membrane fusion thereby omitting endocytosis pathways. Fusion is induced by a pair of complementary coiled-coil lipopeptides inserted into the membrane of cells and in the bilayer of lipid-coated MSNs. In this manner proteins can be efficiently delivered into the cytoplasm of cells.

Yang J., Tu J., Lamers G.E.M., Olsthoorn R.R.C.L., Kros A.
25 October 2017
DOI link

Protein delivery into the cytosol of cells is a challenging topic in the field of nanomedicine, because cellular uptake and endosomal escape are typically inefficient, hampering clinical applications. In this contribution cuboidal mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) containing disk-shaped cavities with a large pore diameter (10 nm) were studied as a protein delivery vehicle using cytochrome-c (cytC) as a model membrane-impermeable protein.

To ensure colloidal stability, the MSNs were coated with a fusogenic lipid bilayer and  cellular uptake was induced by a complementary pair of coiled-coil lipopeptides. Coiled-coil induced membrane fusion led to the efficient cytosolic delivery of cytC and triggered apoptosis of cells. Delivery of these lipid bilayer coated MSNs in the presence of various endocytosis inhibitors strongly suggested that membrane fusion is the dominant mechanism of cellular uptake. This method is potentially a universal way for the efficient delivery of any type of inorganic nanoparticle or protein into cells mediated by coiled-coil induced membrane fusion.

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