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Latest Advances in the Development of Eukaryotic Vaults as Targeted Drug Delivery Systems

Institut de Biotecnologia i de Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Networking Center on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), 28029 Madrid, Spain
Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), Campus UAB, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain.
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(7), 300;
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 26 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Organizing Nanovectors for Drug Delivery)
PDF [2143 KB, uploaded 28 June 2019]


The use of smart drug delivery systems (DDSs) is one of the most promising approaches to overcome some of the drawbacks of drug-based therapies, such as improper biodistribution and lack of specific targeting. Some of the most attractive candidates as DDSs are naturally occurring, self-assembling protein nanoparticles, such as viruses, virus-like particles, ferritin cages, bacterial microcompartments, or eukaryotic vaults. Vaults are large ribonucleoprotein nanoparticles present in almost all eukaryotic cells. Expression in different cell factories of recombinant versions of the “major vault protein” (MVP) results in the production of recombinant vaults indistinguishable from native counterparts. Such recombinant vaults can encapsulate virtually any cargo protein, and they can be specifically targeted by engineering the C-terminus of MVP monomer. These properties, together with nanometric size, a lumen large enough to accommodate cargo molecules, biodegradability, biocompatibility and no immunogenicity, has raised the interest in vaults as smart DDSs. In this work we provide an overview of eukaryotic vaults as a new, self-assembling protein-based DDS, focusing in the latest advances in the production and purification of this platform, its application in nanomedicine, and the current preclinical and clinical assays going on based on this nanovehicle. View Full-Text
Keywords: eukaryotic vaults; nanoparticle; drug delivery systems; nanocage; protein self-assembly eukaryotic vaults; nanoparticle; drug delivery systems; nanocage; protein self-assembly

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Muñoz-Juan, A.; Carreño, A.; Mendoza, R.; Corchero, J.L. Latest Advances in the Development of Eukaryotic Vaults as Targeted Drug Delivery Systems. Pharmaceutics 2019, 11, 300.

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