Peptide amphiphile micelles (PAMs) are a nanoparticle platform that have gained popularity for their targeting versatility in a wide range of disease models. An important aspect of micelle design is considering the type of hydrophobic moiety used to synthesize the PAM, which can act as a contributing factor regarding their morphology and targeting capabilities. To delineate and compare the characteristics of spherical and cylindrical micelles, we incorporated the monocyte-targeting chemokine, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), into our micelles (MCP-1 PAMs). We report that both shapes of nanoparticles were biocompatible with monocytes and enhanced the secondary structure of the MCP-1 peptide, thereby improving the ability of the micelles to mimic the native MCP-1 protein structure. As a result, both shapes of MCP-1 PAMs effectively targeted monocytes in an in vitro binding assay with murine monocytes. Interestingly, cylindrical PAMs showed a greater ability to attract monocytes compared to spherical PAMs in a chemotaxis assay. However, the surface area, the multivalent display of peptides, and the zeta potential of PAMs may also influence their biomimetic properties. Herein, we introduce variations in the methods of PAM synthesis and discuss the differences in PAM characteristics that can impact the recruitment of monocytes, a process associated with disease and cancer progression.
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