Nanocapsules with chemical cargo into the nucleus of a living cell

Biologists have developed and successfully tested a system carrying the desired substance in the cell nucleus. Scientists plan to use such schemes for targeted drug delivery.

Achievement is described in a scientific paper published in the journal PNAS.

the nucleus of the cell protects its DNA from rapid chemical processes occurring in the cytoplasm. Not every agent can get in this citadel of our hereditary information.

the Membrane (wall) of the kernel is a system of inputs and outputs, which are called nuclear pores. This name should not mislead: in this case, the pores is not a hole in the literal sense of the word.

Nuclear time is a complex of protein molecules, which transportorul of the desired substance into the nucleus and back. To get into the Holy of holies, the molecule or particle must have a special chemical label. Body without such a “pass printing” does not pass through the pores. The only exceptions are very small objects (less than five nanometers), which “protection” is simply not able to capture.

Some viruses in the process of evolution have learned to fool the control system, simulating chemical “entrance ticket”. The same trick used by the scientists, creating nanoscale objects penetrating into the core.

Various scientific groups experimenting with nanoparticles of gold, silica and other substances. Such a nanoparticle is similar to a primitive Cannonball: just a solid piece of metal or other material.

this time the researchers have set themselves a more challenging task-to create a capsule store inside the desired material and produce it upon arrival at the scene. Artillery continuing the analogy, we can compare them with modern shells: a thin shell hiding the charge, not only of explosives and drugs.

the capsules consisted of a biocompatible polymer, to which was affixed a chemical tag, which transmits them to the core. In this regard, the authors call their polymersomes (from the Greek “soma" — the body).

“These polymersomes size of about 60 nm are enclosed in a flexible polymer shell that mimic the natural membrane,” says co-author Pelivan Cornelia (Cornelia Palivan) from the University of Basel.

the Scientist noted that the polymer shell is more stable and functional than the lipid that surround the cell small organelles — vesicles.

as a chemical filling of pellets were used in various dyes. In the future, they should take the place of medications.

Biologists have tested their offspring for the culture of HeLa cells. Recall that this line of human cancer cells, which began in 1951 with a single cell taken from the patient. Cancerous eukaryotic cells, unlike normal, does not have limitations on the number of divisions: arbitrarily distant “descendant” of such cells can be split again. Therefore, HeLa seven decades serve as experimental material for a variety of studies that require human cells.

the Experiments showed that the dye enclosed in the capsule, really accumulated in the cell nucleus. Scientists have confirmed this using several microscopy techniques.

the Researchers also launched a batch of capsules that do not have a chemical “passes”. Charged substances in them into the kernel were not included. This proves that the system works exactly as predicted by the developers.

By the way, earlier “Conduct.Science” ( wrote about the prospects for targeted drug delivery using nanorobots out of DNA strands and the platinum nanoparticles, killing the cancer cells.

Text: To.Science