Inspired by the natural intercellular material-transfer process of trans-endocytosis or trogocytosis, we proposed that targeted farnesylated chemically self-assembled nanorings (f-CSANs) could serve as a biomimetic trogocytosis vehicle for engineering directional cargo transfer between cells, thus allowing cell-cell interactions to be monitored and facilitating cell-cell communications. The membranes of sender cells were stably modified by hydrophobic insertion with the targeted f-CSANs, which were efficiently transferred to receiver cells expressing the appropriate receptors by endocytosis. CSAN-assisted cell-cell cargo transfer (C4T) was demonstrated to be receptor specific and dependent on direct cell-cell interactions, the rate of receptor internalization, and the level of receptor expression. In addition, C4T was shown to facilitate cell-to-cell delivery of an apoptosis inducing drug, as wells as antisense oligonucleotides. Taken together, the C4T approach is a potentially versatile biomimetic trogocytosis platform that can be deployed as a macro-chemical biological tool for monitoring cell-cell interactions and engineering cell-cell communications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by GM084152 (M.D.D.), GM141853 (M.D.D.), CA185627 (C.R.W.), CA247681 (C.R.W.), and NSF Grant ECCS-2025124 to the Minnesota Nano Center and the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Minnesota.
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