Tailoring nanocarriers for intracellular protein delivery

Chem Soc Rev. 2011 Jul;40(7):3638-55. doi: 10.1039/c0cs00227e. Epub 2011 May 12.


Proteins play a crucial role in life, taking part in all vital processes in the body. In the past decade, there was increasing interest in delivering active forms of proteins to specific cells and organs. Intracellular protein delivery holds enormous promise for biological and medical applications, including cancer therapy, vaccination, regenerative medicine, treatment for loss-of-function genetic diseases and imaging. This tutorial review surveys recent developments in intracellular protein delivery using various nanocarriers. Methods such as lipid-mediated colloidal systems, polymeric nanocarriers, inorganic systems and protein-mediated carriers are reviewed. Advantages and limitations of current strategies, as well as future opportunities and challenges are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Drug Carriers
  • Proteins