Self-assembly triggered by self-assembly: optically active, paramagnetic micelles encapsulated in protein cage nanoparticles
*Corresponding author for this work
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
In this contribution, optically active and paramagnetic micelles of the ligand 1,4,7,10-tetraaza-1-(1-carboxymethylundecane)-4,7,10-triacetic acid cyclododecane (DOTAC10) have been incorporated inside capsids of the cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV) protein through a hierarchical process of self-assembly triggered by self-assembly. The DOTAC10 ligand was used to complex GdIII, in order to form paramagnetic micelles, as well as to encapsulate an amphiphilic Znπ phthalocyanine (ZnPc) dye that optically confirmed the encapsulation of the micelles. The incorporation of ZnPc molecules in the paramagnetic micelles led to high capsid loading of both GdIII and ZnPc, as the micelles were stabilized by the amphiphilic dye encapsulation. The resulting protein cage nanoparticles (PCNs) show an improved r1 relaxivity, suggesting the possible use of these nanostructures as contrast agents (CAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Since the encapsulated ZnPc dye also has a potential therapeutic value, the present results represent a first step towards the consecution of fully self-assembled PCNs for multimodal imaging and therapy.