Monoclonal antibody-functionalized multilayered particles: Targeting cancer cells in the presence of protein coronas

Qiong Dai, Yan Yan, Ching Seng Ang, Kristian Kempe, Marloes M J Kamphuis, Sarah J. Dodds, Frank Caruso

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Engineered particles adsorb biomolecules (e.g., proteins) when introduced in a biological medium to form a layer called a "corona". Coronas, in particular the protein corona, play an important role in determining the surface properties of particles and their targeting abilities. This study examines the influence of protein coronas on the targeting ability of layer-by-layer (LbL)-Assembled polymer capsules and core-shell particles functionalized with monoclonal antibodies. Upon exposure of humanized A33 monoclonal antibody (huA33 mAb)-functionalized poly(methacrylic acid) (PMA) capsules or huA33 mAb-PMA particles to human serum, a total of 83 or 65 proteins were identified in the protein coronas, respectively. Human serum of varying concentrations altered the composition of the protein corona. The antibody-driven specific cell membrane binding was qualitatively and quantitatively assessed by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy in both the absence and presence of a protein corona. The findings show that although different protein coronas formed in human serum (at different concentrations), the targeting ability of both the huA33 mAb-functionalized PMA capsules and particles toward human colon cancer cells was retained, demonstrating no significant difference compared with capsules and particles in the absence of protein coronas: ∼70% and ∼90% A33-expressing cells were targeted by the huA33 mAb-PMA capsules and particles, respectively, in a mixed cell population. This result demonstrates that the formation of protein coronas did not significantly influence the targeting ability of antibody-functionalized LbL-polymer carriers, indicating that the surface functionality of engineered particles in the presence of protein coronas can be preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2876-2885
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • human serum
  • layer-by-layer assembly
  • monoclonal antibody
  • polymer particles
  • protein corona
  • targeted drug delivery

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