Encapsulation of semiconducting polymers in vault protein cages

Nano Lett. 2008 Oct;8(10):3503-9. doi: 10.1021/nl080537r. Epub 2008 Sep 20.


We demonstrate that a semiconducting polymer [poly(2-methoxy-5-propyloxy sulfonate phenylene vinylene), MPS-PPV] can be encapsulated inside recombinant, self-assembling protein nanocapsules called "vaults". Polymer incorporation into these nanosized protein cages, found naturally at approximately 10,000 copies per human cell, was confirmed by fluorescence spectroscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. Although vault cellular functions and gating mechanisms remain unknown, their large internal volume and natural prevalence within the human body suggests they could be used as carriers for therapeutics and medical imaging reagents. This study provides the groundwork for the use of vaults in encapsulation and delivery applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nanocapsules / chemistry*
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Semiconductors*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods
  • X-Rays


  • Drug Carriers
  • Nanocapsules
  • Polymers
  • Proteins
  • DNA