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A eukaryotic cell contains thousands of proteins that regulate its cellular function; delivering functional proteins into cells to rectify cellular functions holds great promise for treatment of various diseases, especially cancers. In this context, ribonuclease (RNase), an enzyme that breaks down ribonucleic acid (RNA), has great potential for cancer therapy. However, its therapeutic application is hampered by poor intracellular delivery efficiency and inhibition by ubiquitous intracellular RNase inhibitors. In this work, by designing and synthesizing RNase nano-conjugates by in situ atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), we demonstrate a simple solution to address both challenges. Compared with native RNase, nano-conjugates exhibit significantly enhanced intracellular delivery efficiency, inhibitor resistance, and a near five-fold increase in cytotoxicity. This work provides a novel platform for delivery of therapeutic proteins for cancer therapy and other applications.

Jianjun Zhang, Juanjuan Du, Ming Yan, Anandika Dhaliwal, Jing Wen, Fengqi Liu, Tatiana Segura, Yunfeng Lu

Zhang J, Du J, Yan M, Dhaliwal A, Wen J, Liu F, Segura T, Lu Y