Monitoring the Disassembly of Virus-like Particles by 19F-NMR

J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Apr 19;139(15):5277-5280. doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b11040. Epub 2017 Apr 7.


Virus-like particles (VLPs) are stable protein cages derived from virus coats. They have been used extensively as biomolecular platforms, e.g., nanocarriers or vaccines, but a convenient in situ technique is lacking for tracking functional status. Here, we present a simple way to monitor disassembly of 19F-labeled VLPs derived from bacteriophage Qβ by 19F NMR. Analysis of resonances, under a range of conditions, allowed determination not only of the particle as fully assembled but also as disassembled, as well as detection of a degraded state upon digestion by cells. This in turn allowed mutational redesign of disassembly and testing in both bacterial and mammalian systems as a strategy for the creation of putative, targeted-VLP delivery systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage lambda / chemistry
  • Fluorine / chemistry*
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular*
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle / analysis*
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry*


  • Q protein, Bacteriophage lambda
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle
  • Viral Proteins
  • Fluorine