Extracellular vesicles as novel carriers for therapeutic molecules

  • Yim, Nambin (Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST) ;
  • Choi, Chulhee (Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST)
  • Received : 2016.10.10
  • Published : 2016.11.30


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural carriers of biomolecules that play central roles in cell-to-cell communications. Based on this, there have been various attempts to use EVs as therapeutic drug carriers. From chemical reagents to nucleic acids, various macromolecules were successfully loaded into EVs; however, loading of proteins with high molecular weight has been huddled with several problems. Purification of recombinant proteins is expensive and time consuming, and easily results in modification of proteins due to physical or chemical forces. Also, the loading efficiency of conventional methods is too low for most proteins. We have recently proposed a new method, the so-called exosomes for protein loading via optically reversible protein-protein interaction (EXPLORs), to overcome the limitations. Since EXPLORs are produced by actively loading of intracellular proteins into EVs using blue light without protein purification steps, we demonstrated that the EXPLOR technique significantly improves the loading and delivery efficiency of therapeutic proteins. In further in vitro and in vivo experiments, we demonstrate the potential of EXPLOR technology as a novel platform for biopharmaceuticals, by successful delivery of several functional proteins such as Cre recombinase, into the target cells.


Drug delivery;Exosome;Extracellular vesicles;Light-induced protein-protein interaction;Protein drug


Supported by : KAIST Institute for the BioCentury

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