Multivalent viral capsids with internal cargo for fibrin imaging

Allie C. Obermeyer, Stacy L. Capehart, John B. Jarman, Matthew B. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Thrombosis is the cause of many cardiovascular syndromes and is a significant contributor to life-threatening diseases, such as myocardial infarction and stroke. Thrombus targeted imaging agents have the capability to provide molecular information about pathological clots, potentially improving detection, risk stratification, and therapy of thrombosis-related diseases. Nanocarriers are a promising platform for the development of molecular imaging agents as they can be modified to have external targeting ligands and internal functional cargo. In this work, we report the synthesis and use of chemically functionalized bacteriophage MS2 capsids as biomolecule-based nanoparticles for fibrin imaging. The capsids were modified using an oxidative coupling reaction, conjugating ∼90 copies of a fibrin targeting peptide to the exterior of each protein shell. The ability of the multivalent, targeted capsids to bind fibrin was first demonstrated by determining the impact on thrombin-mediated clot formation. The modified capsids out-performed the free peptides and were shown to inhibit clot formation at effective concentrations over ten-fold lower than the monomeric peptide alone. The installation of near-infrared fluorophores on the interior surface of the capsids enabled optical detection of binding to fibrin clots. The targeted capsids bound to fibrin, exhibiting higher signal-to-background than control, non-targeted MS2-based nanoagents. The in vitro assessment of the capsids suggests that fibrin-targeted MS2 capsids could be used as delivery agents to thrombi for diagnostic or therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere100678
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 24 2014
Externally publishedYes


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