The aim of this study was to get insight into the internalization and transport of PEGylat-ed mixed micelles loaded by vitamin K, as mediated by Scavenger Receptor B1 (SR-B1) that is abundantly expressed by intestinal epithelium cells as well as by differentiated Caco-2 cells. Inhibition of SR-B1 reduced endocytosis and transport of vitamin-K-loaded 0%, 30% and 50% PEGylated mixed micelles and decreased colocalization of the micelles with SR-B1. Confocal fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis, and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) were used to study the interaction between the mixed micelles of different compositions (varying vitamin K loading and PEG content) and SR-B1. Interaction of PEGylated micelles was independent of the vitamin K content, indicating that the PEG shell prevented vitamin K exposure at the surface of the micelles and binding with the receptor and that the PEG took over the micelles' ability to bind to the receptor. Molecular docking calculations corroborated the dual binding of both vita-min K and PEG with the binding domain of SR-B1. In conclusion, the improved colloidal stability of PEGylated mixed micelles did not compromise their cellular uptake and transport due to the affinity of PEG for SR-B1. SR-B1 is able to interact with PEGylated nanoparticles and mediates their subsequent internalization and transport.
Keywords: PEGylation; epithelial transport; mixed micelles; scavenger receptor B1; vitamin K.