Nanomedicine and phage capsids

Philip Serwer, Elena T. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Studies of phage capsids have at least three potential interfaces with nanomedicine. First, investigation of phage capsid states potentially will provide therapies targeted to similar states of pathogenic viruses. Recently detected, altered radius-states of phage T3 capsids include those probably related to intermediate states of DNA injection and DNA packaging (dynamic states). We discuss and test the idea that some T3 dynamic states include extensive α-sheet in subunits of the capsid’s shell. Second, dynamic states of pathogenic viral capsids are possible targets of innate immune systems. Specifically, α-sheet-rich innate immune proteins would interfere with dynamic viral states via inter-α-sheet co-assembly. A possible cause of neurodegenerative diseases is excessive activity of these innate immune proteins. Third, some phage capsids appear to have characteristics useful for improved drug delivery vehicles (DDVs). These characteristics include stability, uniformity and a gate-like sub-structure. Gating by DDVs is needed for (1) drug-loading only with gate opened; (2) closed gate-DDV migration through circulatory systems (no drug leakage-generated toxicity); and (3) drug release only at targets. A gate-like sub-structure is the connector ring of double-stranded DNA phage capsids. Targeting to tumors of phage capsid-DDVs can possibly be achieved via the enhanced permeability and retention effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number307
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 6 2018


  • Alpha-sheet
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Capsid dynamics
  • Drug delivery vehicles
  • Native gel electrophoresis
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Pathogenic viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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