Human immune cell targeting of protein nanoparticles – caveospheres
Nanotechnology has the power to transform vaccine and drug delivery through protection of payloads from both metabolism and off-target effects, while facilitating specific delivery of cargo to immune cells. However, evaluation of immune cell nanoparticle targeting is conventionally restricted to monocultured cell line models. We generated human caveolin-1 nanoparticles, termed caveospheres, which were efficiently functionalized with monoclonal antibodies. Using this platform, we investigated CD4+ T cell and CD20+ B cell targeting within physiological mixtures of primary human blood immune cells using flow cytometry, imaging flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Antibody-functionalization enhanced caveosphere binding to targeted immune cells (6.6 to 43.9-fold) within mixed populations and in the presence of protein-containing fluids. Moreover, targeting caveospheres to CCR5 enabled caveosphere internalization by non-phagocytic CD4+ T cells—an important therapeutic target for HIV treatment. This efficient and flexible system of immune cell-targeted caveosphere nanoparticles holds promise for the development of advanced immunotherapeutics and vaccines.