Protein biologics are an important class of drugs, but the necessity for frequent parenteral administration is a major limitation. Drug-delivery materials offer a potential solution, but protein-material adsorption can cause denaturation, which reduces their effectiveness. Here, we describe a new protein delivery platform that limits direct contact between globular protein domains and material matrix, yet from a single subcutaneous administration can be tuned for long-term drug release. The strategy utilizes complementary electrostatic interactions made between a suite of designed interaction domains (IDs), installed onto the terminus of a protein of interest, and a negatively charged self-assembled fibrillar hydrogel. These intermolecular interactions can be easily modulated by choice of ID to control material interaction and desorption energies, which allows regulation of protein release kinetics to fit desired release profiles. Molecular dynamics studies provided a molecular-level understanding of the mechanisms that govern release and identified optimal binding zones on the gel fibrils that facilitate strong ID-material interactions, which are crucial for sustained release of protein. This delivery platform can be easily loaded with cargo, is shear-thin syringe implantable, provides improved protein stability, is capable of a diverse range of in vitro release rates, and most importantly, can accomplish long-term control over in vivo protein delivery.
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.