Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol 2010;2(2):161-178
Review Article Viral nanoparticles as macromolecular devices for new therapeutic and pharmaceutical approachesm
Simone Grasso, Luca Santi
Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
Received May 25, 2010, accepted June 22, 2010, available online June 30, 2010
Abstract: Viral nanoparticles are molecular cages derived from the assembly of viral structural proteins. They bear several peculiar features as proper dimensions for nanoscale applications: size homogeneity, an intrinsic robustness, a large surface area to mass ratio and a defined, repetitive and symmetric macromolecular organization. A number of expression strategies, using various biological systems, efficiently enable the production of significant quantities of viral nanoparticles, which can be easily purified. . Genetic engineering and in vitro chemical modification allow manipulation ofthe outer and inner surface of these nanocages, which allowsspecific changes of the original physicochemical and biological properties. Moreover, several studies have focused on the in vitro disassembly/reassembly and gating of viral nanoparticles, with the aim of encapsulating exogenous molecules inside and therefore improving their potential as containment delivery devices. These technological progresses have led research to a growing variety of applications in different fields such as biomedicine, pharmacology, separation science, catalytic chemistry, crop pest control and material science. In this review we will focus on the strategies used to modify the characteristics of viral nanoparticles and on their use in biomedicine and pharmacology. (IJPPP1006002).
Key words: Nanoparticle, virus particle, virus like particle, protein cage, nanotechnology, nanodevice
Address all correspondence to: Luca Santi, PhD Plant Virology and Biotechnology University of Rome "Tor Vergata", School of Science Department of Biology, Via della Ricerca Scientifica 00133 Roma, Italy. Tel: +39-06-72594219 Fax: +39-06-72594263 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org