Monitoring the Disassembly of Virus-like Particles by 19F-NMR.
Leung RLC., Robinson MDM., Ajabali AAA., Karunanithy G., Lyons B., Raj R., Raoufmoghaddam S., Mohammed S., Claridge TDW., Baldwin AJ., Davis BG.
Virus-like particles (VLPs) are stable protein cages derived from virus coats. They have been used extensively as biomolecular platforms, e.g., nanocarriers or vaccines, but a convenient in situ technique is lacking for tracking functional status. Here, we present a simple way to monitor disassembly of 19F-labeled VLPs derived from bacteriophage Qβ by 19F NMR. Analysis of resonances, under a range of conditions, allowed determination not only of the particle as fully assembled but also as disassembled, as well as detection of a degraded state upon digestion by cells. This in turn allowed mutational redesign of disassembly and testing in both bacterial and mammalian systems as a strategy for the creation of putative, targeted-VLP delivery systems.