Sterically Bulky Caging of Transferrin for Photoactivatable Intracellular Delivery

Satoshi Yamaguchi, Satoshi Takamori, Kazuho Yamamoto, Akira Ishiwatari, Kosuke Minamihata, Eriko Yamada, Akimitsu Okamoto, Teruyuki Nagamune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Photoactivatable ligand proteins are potentially useful for light-induced intracellular delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic cargos through receptor-mediated cellular uptake. Here, we report the simple and effective caging of transferrin (Tf), a representative ligand protein with cellular uptake ability, which has been used in the delivery of various cargos. Tf was modified with several biotin molecules through a photocleavable linker, and then the biotinylated Tf (bTf) was conjugated with the biotin-binding protein, streptavidin (SA), to provide steric hindrance to block the interaction with the Tf receptor. Without exposure to light, the cellular uptake of the bTf-SA complex was effectively inhibited. In response to light exposure, the complex was degraded with the release of Tf, leading to cellular uptake of Tf. Similarly, the cellular uptake of Tf-doxorubicin (Dox) conjugates could be suppressed by caging with biotinylation and SA binding, and the intracellular delivery of Dox could be triggered in a light-dependent manner. The intracellularly accumulated Dox decreased the cell viability to 25% because of the cell growth inhibitory effect of Dox. These results provided proof of principle that the caged Tf can be employed as a photoactivatable molecular device for the intracellular delivery of cargos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1540
Number of pages6
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 18 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Sterically Bulky Caging of Transferrin for Photoactivatable Intracellular Delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this