Bioreducible Hydrophobin-Stabilized Supraparticles for Selective Intracellular Release

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Daniele Maiolo
  • Claudia Pigliacelli
  • Paola Sánchez Moreno
  • Martina Bruna Violatto
  • Laura Talamini
  • Ilaria Tirotta
  • Rosanna Piccirillo
  • Massimo Zucchetti
  • Lavinia Morosi
  • Roberta Frapolli
  • Gabriele Candiani
  • Paolo Bigini
  • Pierangelo Metrangolo
  • Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

Research units

  • Polytechnic University of Milan
  • IRCCS Istituto di ricerche farmacologiche Mario Negri - Milano, Bergamo, Ranica
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


One of the main hurdles in nanomedicine is the low stability of drug–nanocarrier complexes as well as the drug delivery efficiency in the region-of-interest. Here, we describe the use of the film-forming protein hydrophobin HFBII to organize dodecanethiol-protected gold nanoparticles (NPs) into well-defined supraparticles (SPs). The obtained SPs are exceptionally stable in vivo and efficiently encapsulate hydrophobic drug molecules. The HFBII film prevents massive release of the encapsulated drug, which, instead, is activated by selective SP disassembly triggered intracellularly by glutathione reduction of the protein film. As a consequence, the therapeutic efficiency of an encapsulated anticancer drug is highly enhanced (2 orders of magnitude decrease in IC50). Biodistribution and pharmacokinetics studies demonstrate the high stability of the loaded SPs in the bloodstream and the selective release of the payloads once taken up in the tissues. Overall, our results provide a rationale for the development of bioreducible and multifunctional nanomedicines.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9413-9423
JournalACS Nano
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • drug release, gold nanoparticle, hydrophobin, nanobio interface, self-assembly, supraparticle

ID: 14856393