Intracellular Delivery of Nanobodies for Imaging of Target Proteins in Live Cells

Pharmaceutical Research, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 161–174, DOI: 10.1007/s11095-016-2052-8
Pharmaceutical Research, online article

Purpose
Cytosolic delivery of nanobodies for molecular target binding and fluorescent labeling in living cells.

Methods
Fluorescently labeled nanobodies were formulated with sixteen different sequence-defined oligoaminoamides. The delivery of formulated anti-GFP nanobodies into different target protein-containing HeLa cell lines was investigated by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Nanoparticle formation was analyzed by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.

Results
The initial oligomer screen identified two cationizable four-arm structured oligomers (734, 735) which mediate intracellular nanobody delivery in a receptor-independent (734) or folate receptor facilitated (735) process. The presence of disulfide-forming cysteines in the oligomers was found critical for the formation of stable protein nanoparticles of around 20 nm diameter. Delivery of labeled GFP nanobodies or lamin nanobodies to their cellular targets was demonstrated by fluorescence microscopy including time lapse studies.

Conclusion
Two sequence-defined oligoaminoamides with or without folate for receptor targeting were identified as effective carriers for intracellular nanobody delivery, as exemplified by GFP or lamin binding in living cells. Due to the conserved nanobody core structure, the methods should be applicable for a broad range of nanobodies directed to different intracellular targets.

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TU München
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Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry