TITLE: “Self-Assembling Peptide Capsules as a Nano-Delivery System in Plants and Animals”

Authors: Pavithra Natarajan, Susan K. Whitaker, Adriana F Avila, Sheila M. Barros, Kayla Wilkinson, Mariah Brown, Emily Wessel, Jennifer Coats and John M Tomich

Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules (BAPCs) are bilayer delimited, cationic capsules that can encapsulate or bind molecules of choice. The constituent peptides that form BAPCs are 15 and 23 amino acid sequences, branched, self-assembling- (Ac-FLIVIGSII)2-K-K4-CONH2 and (Ac-FLIVI)2-K-K4-CONH2. Depending on the ratio of the two peptides and the conditions in which the BAPCs are formed, the nanocapsules can range from ~10 nm to over 45 nm in diameter. In contrast to their counterpart liposomes, BAPCs are more stable and biocompatible. BAPCs are readily taken up by animal and plant cells in vitro and in vivo, and they have been used to encapsulate and deliver radionuclides, small proteins and dye molecules. These cationic capsules also externally bind and deliver negatively charged nucleic acid and have proved to be a promising delivery system for DNA vaccines and RNAi to target specific insect disease vector species. The BAPC forming peptides have also been conjugated to gold nanoparticles to form the bilayer membrane which has the advantage of a more rigid peptide assembly with a gold core, providing additional control over size. These can find applications in bio-imaging and targeted delivery of nucleic acids, antigens etc. BAPCs are a unique, promising system in the field of molecular delivery which aids research in infectious diseases in plants and animals.

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