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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 378786, 7 pages
Research Article

VP6-SUMO Self-Assembly as Nanocarriers for Gastrointestinal Delivery

1Istituto di Fisica, Università Cattolica del SC, L. Go F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy
2Istituto di Microbiologia, Università Cattolica del SC, L. Go F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy
3Istituto di Biochimica e Biochimica Clinica, Università Cattolica del SC, L. Go F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy

Received 8 September 2015; Revised 5 November 2015; Accepted 8 November 2015

Academic Editor: Andrea Falqui

Copyright © 2015 V. Palmieri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


High proteolytic degradation and poor absorption through epithelial barriers are major challenges to successful oral delivery of therapeutics. Nanoparticle platforms can enhance drug stability and extend the residence time in gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, drug delivery systems are often inactivated in acidic environment of stomach or suffer poor absorption from intestinal cells due to the mucus layer. To overcome these issues we developed a drug delivery system constituted by a protein construct made by a Rotavirus capsid protein (VP6) and the small ubiquitin-like modifier SUMO. This chimeric construct allows specificity towards intestinal cells, the Rotavirus natural target, combined by an enhanced stability given by the eukaryotic protein transporter SUMO. Furthermore SUMO can act as a molecular switch that facilitates import/export of its ligand to the nucleus, the hypersensitive subcellular site target of many cell killing therapies. In this paper we show that SUMO-VP6 constructs self-assembly into stable nanocarriers. SUMO-VP6 nanocarriers display ideal features for drug delivery: a small size and high monodispersity, a high stability in different pH conditions and a high uptake in the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartment of intestinal cells. These features make SUMO-VP6 nanocarriers a promising novel system for oral delivery of poorly soluble drugs.