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Research Article

A green light-enhanced cytosolic protein delivery platform based on BODIPY-protein interactions

Yang Zhou1,2,3Yifan Gao1,2,3Li Pang4Weirong Kang1,2,3Kwan Man4Weiping Wang1,2,3( )
State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Dr. Li Dak-Sum Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine, HKU-SZH & LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
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Graphical Abstract

Boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY)-modified polyamidoamine (PAMAM) (BMP) can interact with proteins via ion–π, hydrophobic, and ionic interactions to form nanoparticles. Upon light irradiation, BODIPY groups conjugated on PAMAM can be cleaved, thereby inducing amine group exposure and nanoparticle dissociation to facilitate cytosolic protein delivery and endosome escape.


Development of cytosolic protein delivery platforms brings new possibilities for various incurable diseases. Strategies based on polymer/protein self-assembly have shown their potential in protein delivery. However, versatile photocontrolled platforms based on self-assembly for protein delivery are seldom reported. Herein, we report a boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY)-modified polyamidoamine (PAMAM) with excellent photo-controllability and efficiency for the cytosolic delivery of various proteins. High serum stability was achieved by coating hyaluronic acid and human serum albumin on the surface of BODIPY-modified PAMAM/protein nanoparticles. The nanoparticles under green light irradiation allowed efficient intracellular delivery of multiple cargo proteins with different charges and molecular weights and promoted endosome escape. The study provides valuable guidance for the development of BODIPY derivative-based protein delivery systems and advances the research in intracellular protein delivery.

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Nano Research
Pages 1042-1051
Cite this article:
Zhou Y, Gao Y, Pang L, et al. A green light-enhanced cytosolic protein delivery platform based on BODIPY-protein interactions. Nano Research, 2023, 16(1): 1042-1051.






Web of Science






Received: 23 June 2022
Revised: 19 August 2022
Accepted: 23 August 2022
Published: 29 September 2022
© Tsinghua University Press 2022