Ferritin Nanocages for Protein Delivery to Tumor Cells

Molecules. 2020 Feb 13;25(4):825. doi: 10.3390/molecules25040825.


The delivery of therapeutic proteins is one of the greatest challenges in the treatment of human diseases. In this frame, ferritins occupy a very special place. Thanks to their hollow spherical structure, they are used as modular nanocages for the delivery of anticancer drugs. More recently, the possibility of encapsulating even small proteins with enzymatic or cytotoxic activity is emerging. Among all ferritins, particular interest is paid to the Archaeoglobus fulgidus one, due to its peculiar ability to associate/dissociate in physiological conditions. This protein has also been engineered to allow recognition of human receptors and used in vitro for the delivery of cytotoxic proteins with extremely promising results.

Keywords: Archaeoglobus fulgidus; TfR1 receptor; drug delivery; ferritin; nanocarrier; therapeutic proteins; tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Archaeoglobus fulgidus / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Ferritins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Ferritins