Controlled apoptosis by a thermally toggled nanoscale amplifier of cellular uptake.
Internalization into cancer cells is a significant challenge in the delivery of many anticancer therapeutics. Drug carriers can address this challenge by facilitating cellular uptake of cytotoxic cargo in the tumor, while preventing cellular uptake in healthy tissues. Here we describe an extrinsically controlled drug carrier, a nanopeptifier, that amplifies cellular uptake by modulating the activity of cell-penetrating peptides with thermally toggled self-assembly of a genetically encoded polypeptide nanoparticle. When appended with a proapoptotic peptide, the nanopeptifier creates a cytotoxic switch, inducing apoptosis only in its self-assembled state. The nanopeptifier provides a new approach to tune the cellular uptake and activity of anticancer therapeutics by an extrinsic thermal trigger.
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