Efficient cellular uptake of click nucleic acid modified proteins†
Efficient intracellular delivery of biomacromolecules such as proteins continues to remain a challenge despite its potential for medicine. In this work, we show that mScarlet, a non cytotoxic red fluorescent protein (RFP) conjugated to Click Nucleic Acid (CNA), a synthetic analog of DNA, undergo cell uptake significantly more than either native proteins or proteins conjugated with similar amounts of DNA in MDA-MB-468 cells. We further demonstrate that the process of cell uptake is metabolically driven and that scavenger receptors and caveolae mediated endocytosis play a significant role. Co-localization studies using anti-scavenger receptor antibodies suggest that scavenger receptors are implicated in the mechanism of uptake of CNA modified proteins.