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New discovery reveals fate of nanoparticles in human cells

Submitted by on 23 May, 2022 – 4:32 am
Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have discovered what happens to nanoparticles when they enter biomimetic human cells. They found that the important proteins that form the outer layer of the nanoparticles are degraded by an enzyme called cathepsin L. Scientists now have to take into account this phenomenon and through this process to ensure the exciting field of nanomedicine can progress. The research is published today in ACS Nano.

Dr. Rafael Levy, BBSRC David Phillips Fellow at Liverpool University and principal investigator of the project said: “We have known for some time that the nanoparticles are taken into the cells and experiments have been made to establish its final destination, but not known so far been found in the time it arrives.

In most biological applications, the nanoparticles are coated with a layer of molecules, often proteins, which determine the use of nanoparticles when they enter the cells. Researchers have confirmed, in a wide variety of cells, the nanoparticles are taken from a region called the endosome, where the critical layer is degraded by cathepsin L.

Dr Violaine See also BBSRC David Phillips Fellow at the University of Liverpool, and set the corresponding author, added: “One of the most promising applications of nanoparticles in medicine is to use them as a method to deliver protein molecules treatment within the cells. For these therapies to be effective biological proteins have to be maintained with high integrity and, unfortunately, have been compromised by the degrading action of cathepsin L ”

The design of any intracellular nanodevice now have in mind the possibility of degradation of cathepsin L and either ignore the endosome area all together, or have become some of inhibition of the enzyme.

Dr. Levy continues: “The methods we have developed will help with this because now we can measure the location and status of the nanoparticles quickly and quantitatively.”

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said: “Nanotechnology is an interesting area that has the potential for promoting all kinds of technological limits. There is the promise of some useful applications of biology and we have seen excellent results with the development of nanomagnetic technology to guide therapeutic proteins and DNA to specific sites for the treatment of tumors, for example. bioscience fundamental research such as this helps drive nanomedicine sure you have a real impact on health and welfare in the future. “

Source: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (web)

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