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Exosomes: Tunable Nano Vehicles for Macromolecular Delivery of Transferrin and Lactoferrin to Specific Intracellular Compartment

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Due to their abundant ubiquitous presence, rapid uptake and increased requirement in neoplastic tissue, the delivery of the iron carrier macromolecules transferrin (Tf) and lactoferrin (Lf) into mammalian cells is the subject of intense interest for delivery of drugs and other target molecules into cells. Utilizing exosomes obtained from cells of diverse origin we confirmed the presence of the multifunctional protein glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) which has recently been characterized as a Tf and Lf receptor. Using a combination of biochemical, biophysical and imaging based methodologies, we demonstrate that GAPDH present in exosomes captures Tf and Lf and subsequently effectively delivers these proteins into mammalian cells. Exosome vesicles prepared had a size of 51.2 ± 23.7 nm. They were found to be stable in suspension with a zeta potential (ζ-potential) of –28.16 ± 1.15 mV. Loading of Tf/Lf did not significantly affect ζ-potential of the exosomes. The carrier protein loaded exosomes were able to enhance the delivery of Tf/Lf by 2 to 3 fold in a diverse panel of cell types. Ninety percent of the internalized cargo via this route was found to be specifically delivered into late endosome and lysosomes. We also found exosomes to be tunable nano vehicles for cargo delivery by varying the amount of GAPDH associated with exosome. The current study opens a new avenue of research for efficient delivery of these vital iron carriers into cells employing exosomes as a nano delivery vehicle.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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