Transformation of Viral Light Particles into Near-Infrared Fluorescence Quantum Dot-Labeled Active Tumor-Targeting Nanovectors for Drug Delivery

Nanosized oncolytic viral light particles (L-particles), separated from progeny virions, are composed of envelopes and several tegument proteins of viruses, free of nucleocapsids. The noninfectious L-particles experience the same internalization process as mature oncolytic virions, which exhibits great potential to act as targeted therapeutic platforms. However, the clinical applications of L-particle-based theranostic platforms are rare due to the lack of effective methods to transform L-particles into nanovectors. Herein, a convenient and mild strategy has been developed to transform L-particles into near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence Ag2Se quantum dot (QD)-labeled active tumor-targeting nanovectors for real-time in situ imaging and drug delivery. Utilizing the electroporation technique, L-particles can be labeled with ultrasmall water-dispersible NIR fluorescence Ag2Se QDs with a labeling efficiency of ca. 85% and loaded with antitumor drug with a loading efficiency of ca. 87%. Meanwhile, by harnessing the infection mechanism of viruses, viral L-particles are able to recognize and enter tumor cells without further modification. In sum, a trackable and actively tumor-targeted theranostics nanovector can be obtained efficiently and simultaneously. Such multifunctional nanovectors transformed from viral L-particles have exhibited excellent properties of active tumor-targeting, in vivo tumor imaging, and antitumor efficacy, which opens a new window for the development of natural therapeutic nanoplatforms.