What are PODS®?
PODS® are 100% protein nanoparticles (200nm to 5 microns) that contain just two proteins: the first structural protein assembles into the nanoparticle crystals, the second protein is the active cargo, such as a growth factor or cytokine. The cargo protein is slowly released following protease-mediated digestion of the structural protein.
Why are PODS® useful?
PODS® provide sustained release of the bioactive cargo protein (over periods >1 month) to generate a more constant environment for cells. PODS® may be placed in discrete positions on, or within, substrates or distributed evenly across a culture system. Consequently, PODS® technology addresses many of the issues of conventional recombinant proteins which are difficult to localize and quickly lose efficacy.
PODS containing the fluorescent proteins, GFP or mCherry behave in the same way as other PODS® co-crystals but do not contain a bioactive cargo protein. Rather they have fluorescent proteins that enable visualization and localization of PODS® crystals in PeptiGels utilizing fluorescence microscopy. In addition, PODS® GFP and mCherry can be used in a similar way to PODS® Empty as a non-bioactive control.
By creating a more stable environment, in-vitro and in-vivo, PODS® improve cell quality, enhance survival, differentiation, and maturation of cells.
PODS® in macrophages and other phagocytic cells
PODS® nanoparticles are readily taken up by phagocytic cells, including monocytes and macrophages, without adverse effects to the macrophage itself. When PODS crystals containing fluorescent proteins, either GFP or mCherry, are engulfed, this offers a simple way to visualize and track macrophages.
In addition to mCherry and GFP, PODS® crystals are also available with a wide variety of long-lasting growth factor cargo. The cytokine cargo can be slowly released and secreted by the macrophages at levels sufficient to modulate adjacent cells or used independently in a cell culture system.
PODS® nanoparticles can be targetted using macrophages
The PODS® cargo protein, typically a cytokine, is slowly released and steadily secreted and can modulate the behaviour of adjacent cells.
Read the manuscript pre-print and learn more about how PODS work and which cytokines are already available
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