Cargo loading within ferritin nanocages in preparation for tumor-targeted delivery, Nat Protoc, 8 Sep 2021
Nature Protocols, 8 September, 2021, DOI：https://doi.org/10.1038/s41596-021-00602-5
Cargo loading within ferritin nanocages in preparation for tumor-targeted delivery
Jianlin Zhang, Dengfeng Cheng, Jiuyang He, Juanji Hong, Chang Yuan & Minmin Liang
Ferritins are spherical iron storage proteins within cells, composed of 24 subunits of two types, heavy-chain ferritin (HFn) and light-chain ferritin. Ferritins auto-assemble naturally into hollow nanocages with an outer diameter of 12 nm and an interior cavity 8 nm in diameter. Since the intrinsic tumor-targeting property of human HFn was first reported in 2012, HFn has been extensively explored for tumor-targeted delivery of anticancer drugs and diagnostic molecules, including radioisotopes and fluorophores, as well as inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) and chemotherapeutic drugs. This protocol provides four detailed procedures describing how to load four types of cargoes within HFn nanocages that are capable of accurately controlling cargo loading: synthesis of inorganic metal nanoparticles within the cavity of a wild-type human HFn nanocage (Procedure 1, requires ~5 h); loading of doxorubicin into the cavity of a wild-type human HFn nanocage (Procedure 2, requires ~3 d); loading Gd3+ into the cavity of a genetically engineered human HFn nanocage (Procedure 3, requires ~20 h); and loading 64Cu2+ radioisotope into the cavity of a genetically engineered human HFn nanocage (Procedure 4, requires ~3 h). Subsequent use of these HFn-based formulations is advantageous as they have intrinsic tumor-targeting capability and lack immunogenicity. Human HFn generated as described in this protocol can therefore be used to deliver therapeutic drugs and diagnostic signals as multifunctional nanomedicines.