In recent years there has been an outburst of interest regarding the employment of nanoparticles for biomedical
applications. Among the different types, such as metallic, organic, biological and hybrid systems, virus based nanoparticles
have become a popular field of research. Viruses are able to form organized structures by molecular self assembly of
repetitive building blocks, which implies non covalent interactions of protein monomers to form the quaternary structure
of viral capsids. Plant virus based systems, in particular, are among the most advanced and exploited for their potential use
as bioinspired structured nanomaterials and nanovectors. Plant viruses have a size particularly suitable for nanoscale applications
and can offer several advantages. In fact, they are structurally uniform, robust, biodegradable and easy to produce.
Moreover, many are the examples regarding functionalization of plant virus based nanoparticles by means of modification
of their external surface and by loading cargo molecules into their internal cavity. This plasticity in terms of
nanoparticles engineering is the ground on which multivalency, payload containment and targeted delivery can be fully
exploited. This review aims primarily to summarize the most important plant virus based nanoparticles systems through
their recent applications in biomedicine, such as epitope display for vaccine development and targeted delivery for diagnosis
or therapy. In addition, their production in the most commonly used plant propagation and expression systems will
be also reviewed.
Keywords: Bioconjugation, biodistribution, drug encapsulation, epitope display, nanobiotechnology, nanovector, plant made
pharmaceuticals, plant viruses, targeted delivery, virus nanoparticles.
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