Ferritin nanocage with intrinsically disordered proteins and affibody: A platform for tumor targeting with extended pharmacokinetics

Na Kyeong Lee, Eun Jung Lee, Soyoun Kim, Gi hoon Nam, Minwoo Kih, Yeonsun Hong, Cherlhyun Jeong, Yoosoo Yang, Youngro Byun, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Ferritin nanocages are of particular interest as a novel platform for drug and vaccine delivery, diagnosis, biomineralization scaffold and more, due to their perfect and complex symmetry, ideal physical properties, high biocompatibility, low toxicity profiles as well as easy manipulation by genetic or chemical strategies. However, a short half-life is still a hurdle for the translation of ferritin-based nanomedicines into the clinic. Here, we developed a series of rationally designed long circulating ferritin nanocages (LCFNs) with ‘Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDP)’ as a stealth layer for extending the half-life of ferritin nanocages. Through predictions with 3D modelling, the LCFNs were designed, generated and their pharmacokinetic parameters including half-life, clearance rate, mean residence time, and more, were evaluated by qualitative and quantitative analysis. LCFNs have a tenfold increased half-life and overall improved pharmacokinetic parameters compared to wild-type ferritin nanocages (wtFN), corresponding to the low binding against bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) and endothelial cells. Subsequently, a tumor targeting moiety, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting affibody peptide, was fused to LCFNs for evaluating their potential as a theragnostic platform. The tumor targeting-LCFNs successfully accumulated to the tumor tissue, by efficient targeting via active and passive properties, and also the shielding effect of IDP in vivo. This strategy can be applied to other protein-based nanocages for further progressing their use in the field of nanomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 10


  • Ferritin nanocages
  • Half-life
  • Intrinsically disordered protein
  • Nanomedicine
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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