Biomaterials and Nanotechnology for Drug and Vaccine Development
B.S. University of California, Berkeley (Biomedical Engineering)
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego (Bioengineering)
Attachment to cellular surfaces is a major attribute among infectious pathogens for initiating disease pathogenesis. In viral infections, viruses exploit receptor-ligand interactions to latch onto cellular exterior prior to subsequent entry and invasion. In light of the selective binding affinity between viral pathogens and cells, nanoparticles cloaked in cellular membranes are herein employed for virus targeting. Using influenza virus as a model, erythrocyte membrane cloaked nanoparticles are prepared and modified with magnetic functionalities (RBC-mNP) for virus targeting and isolation. To maximize targeting and isolation efficiency, density gradient centrifugation and nanoparticle tracking analysis were applied to minimize presence of uncoated particles and membrane vesicles. The resulting nanoparticles possess a distinctive membrane corona, a sialylated surface, and form colloidally stable clusters with influenza viruses. Magnetic functionality is bestowed to the nanoparticles through encapsulation of superparamagnetic iron-oxide particles, which enable influenza virus enrichment via magnetic extraction. Viral samples enriched by the RBC-mNPs result in significantly enhanced virus detection by multiple virus quantification methods, including qRT-PCR, immunnochromatographic strip test, and cell-based titering assays. The demonstration of pathogen targeting and isolation by RBC-mNPs highlights a biologically inspired approach towards improved treatment and diagnosis against infectious disease threats. The work also sheds light on the efficient membrane cloaking mechanism that bestows nanoparticles with cell mimicking functionalities.