Impact of charge variation on the encapsulation of nanoparticles by virus coat proteins

H.K. Lin, P.P.A.M. Schoot, van der, R. Zandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Electrostatic interaction is the driving force for the encapsulation by virus coat proteins of nanoparticles such as quantum dots, gold particles and magnetic beads for, e.g., imaging and therapeutic purposes. In recent experimental work, Daniel et al (2010 ACS Nano 4 3853–60) found the encapsulation efficiency to sensitively depend on the interplay between the surface charge density of negatively charged gold nanoparticles and the number of positive charges on the RNA binding domains of the proteins. Surprisingly, these experiments reveal that despite the highly cooperative nature of the co-assembly at low pH, the efficiency of encapsulation is a gradual function of their surface charge density. We present a simple all-or-nothing mass action law combined with an electrostatic interaction model to explain the experiments. We find quantitative agreement with experimental observations, supporting the existence of a natural statistical charge distribution between nanoparticles
Original languageEnglish
Article number066004
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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