Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) in metastatic cancer tissue, which is associated with a poor prognosis, is a potential target for tumor imaging in vivo. Here, we describe a metastatic cancer cell-targeted protein nanocage. An MMP-2-binding peptide, termed CTT peptide (CTTHWGFTLC), was conjugated to the surface of a naturally occurring heat shock protein nanocage by genetic modification. The engineered protein nanocages showed a binding affinity for MMP-2 and selective uptake in cancer cells that highly expressed MMP-2 in vitro. In near-infrared fluorescence imaging, the nanocages showed specific and significant accumulation in tumor tissue after intravenous injection in vivo. These protein nanocages conjugated with CTT peptide could be potentially applied to a noninvasive near-infrared fluorescence detection method for imaging gelatinase activity in metastatic tumors in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry