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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Synthetic plant virology for nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine

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Nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding field seeking to utilize nano‐scale structures for a wide range of applications. Biologically derived nanostructures, such as viruses and virus‐like particles (VLPs), provide excellent platforms for functionalization due to their physical and chemical properties. Plant viruses, and VLPs derived from them, have been used extensively in biotechnology. They have been characterized in detail over several decades and have desirable properties including high yields, robustness, and ease of purification. Through modifications to viral surfaces, either interior or exterior, plant‐virus‐derived nanoparticles have been shown to support a range of functions of potential interest to medicine and nano‐technology. In this review we highlight recent and influential achievements in the use of plant virus particles as vehicles for diverse functions: from delivery of anticancer compounds, to targeted bioimaging, vaccine production to nanowire formation. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2017, 9:e1447. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1447 This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > In Vivo Nanodiagnostics and Imaging Biology-Inspired Nanomaterials > Protein and Virus-Based Structures
Schematic of the key methods used to encapsidate specific cargoes into VNPs. Left shows swelling‐mediated infusion of nanoparticles. Right demonstrates cargo caging.
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Representations of novel VNP structures for functionalization. (a) TMV‐derived ‘nano‐boomerang’ (b) TMV tetrapod, both derived by in vitro formation mediated by either two or four OAS on a single RNA. (c) Nano‐star formed by conjugating multiple TMV OAS to a gold nanoparticle. (d) Catalytically active TuMV nanonet formed by conjugation to C. antarctica Lipase B.
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Structure and dimensions of plant viruses commonly used in nanobiotechnology. (a) Negative stain TEM of TMV showing rods of ~300 nm length. (b) Negative stain TEM of CPMV particles. (c) Cryo‐EM structure of a cross‐section of TMV (pdb 4udv). (d) Cryo‐EM structure of the external (left) and internal (right) surfaces of CPMV. Repeating motifs for cryo‐EM structures are shown as ribbons (monomer for TEM and pentamer for CPMV). [Correction added on 23 February 2017 after first online publication: labels (b) and (c) have been switched to match with the images.].
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Summary of different VNP‐metal interactions. Both icosahedral and rod‐shaped viruses can be used to either cage metals, or act as scaffolds to decorate with a variety of metals for a range of biomedical and nano‐biotechnological functions.
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