Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 18 Feb '16Published in: Acta Biomaterialia
Virus-like particles (VLPs) are the product of the self-assembly, either in vivo or in vitro, of structural components of viral capsids. These particles are excellent scaffolds for surface display of biomolecules that can be used in vaccine development and tissue-specific drug delivery. Surface engineering of VLPs requires structural stability and chemical reactivity. Herein, we report the enhanced assembly, colloidal stabilization and fluorescent labeling of primate erythroparvovirus 1 (PE1V), generally referred to as parvovirus B19. In vitro assembly of the VP2 protein of PE1V produces VLPs, which are prone to flocculate and hence undergo limited chemical modification by thiol-specific reagents like the fluorogenic monobromobimane (mBBr). We determined that the addition of 0.2 M l-arginine during the assembly process produced an increased yield of soluble VLPs with good dispersion stability. Fluorescent labeling of VLPs suspended in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) added with 0.2 M l-Arg was achieved in significantly shorter times than the flocculated VLPs assembled in only PBS buffer. Finally, to demonstrate the potential application of this approach, mBBr-labeled VLPs were successfully used to tag human hepatoma HepG2 cells. This new method for assembly and labeling PE1V VLPs eases its applications and provides insights on the manipulation of this biomaterial for further developments.