Unveiling the in Vivo Protein Corona of Circulating Leukocyte-like Carriers

Claudia Corbo, Roberto Molinaro, Francesca Taraballi, Naama E. Toledano Furman, Kelly A. Hartman, Michael B. Sherman, Enrica De Rosa, Dickson K. Kirui, Francesco Salvatore, Ennio Tasciotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Understanding interactions occurring at the interface between nanoparticles and biological components is an urgent challenge in nanomedicine due to their effect on the biological fate of nanoparticles. After the systemic injection of nanoparticles, a protein corona constructed by blood components surrounds the carrier's surface and modulates its pharmacokinetics and biodistribution. Biomimicry-based approaches in nanotechnology attempt to imitate what happens in nature in order to transfer specific natural functionalities to synthetic nanoparticles. Several biomimetic formulations have been developed, showing superior in vivo features as a result of their cell-like identity. We have recently designed biomimetic liposomes, called leukosomes, which recapitulate the ability of leukocytes to target inflamed endothelium and escape clearance by the immune system. To gain insight into the properties of leukosomes, we decided to investigate their protein corona in vivo. So far, most information about the protein corona has been obtained using in vitro experiments, which have been shown to minimally reproduce in vivo phenomena. Here we directly show a time-dependent quantitative and qualitative analysis of the protein corona adsorbed in vivo on leukosomes and control liposomes. We observed that leukosomes absorb fewer proteins than liposomes, and we identified a group of proteins specifically adsorbed on leukosomes. Moreover, we hypothesize that the presence of macrophage receptors on leukosomes' surface neutralizes their protein corona-meditated uptake by immune cells. This work unveils the protein corona of a biomimetic carrier and is one of the few studies on the corona performed in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3262-3273
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 28 2017


  • biomimicry
  • in vivo corona
  • leukosome
  • liposome
  • macrophages
  • nanomedicine
  • protein corona

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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