Nanodelivery of a functional membrane receptor to manipulate cellular phenotype

Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 23;8(1):3556. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21863-3.


Modification of membrane receptor makeup is one of the most efficient ways to control input-output signals but is usually achieved by expressing DNA or RNA-encoded proteins or by using other genome-editing methods, which can be technically challenging and produce unwanted side effects. Here we develop and validate a nanodelivery approach to transfer in vitro synthesized, functional membrane receptors into the plasma membrane of living cells. Using β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), a prototypical G-protein coupled receptor, as an example, we demonstrated efficient incorporation of a full-length β2AR into a variety of mammalian cells, which imparts pharmacologic control over cellular signaling and affects cellular phenotype in an ex-vivo wound-healing model. Our approach for nanodelivery of functional membrane receptors expands the current toolkit for DNA and RNA-free manipulation of cellular function. We expect this approach to be readily applicable to the synthesis and nanodelivery of other types of GPCRs and membrane receptors, opening new doors for therapeutic development at the intersection between synthetic biology and nanomedicine.

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

  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nanomedicine / trends
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA / chemistry
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / administration & dosage
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / administration & dosage*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / chemistry
  • Synthetic Biology / trends
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • RNA
  • DNA