Engineering of Living Cells with Polyphenol-Functionalized Biologically Active Nanocomplexes

Zongmin Zhao, Daniel C. Pan, Qin M. Qi, Jayoung Kim, Neha Kapate, Tao Sun, C. Wyatt Shields, Lily Li Wen Wang, Debra Wu, Christopher J. Kwon, Wei He, Junling Guo, Samir Mitragotri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Approaches to safely and effectively augment cellular functions without compromising the inherent biological properties of the cells, especially through the integration of biologically labile domains, remain of great interest. Here, a versatile strategy to assemble biologically active nanocomplexes, including proteins, DNA, mRNA, and even viral carriers, on cellular surfaces to generate a cell-based hybrid system referred to as “Cellnex” is established. This strategy can be used to engineer a wide range of cell types used in adoptive cell transfers, including erythrocytes, macrophages, NK cells, T cells, etc. Erythrocytenex can enhance the delivery of cargo proteins to the lungs in vivo by 11-fold as compared to the free cargo counterpart. Biomimetic microfluidic experiments and modeling provided detailed insights into the targeting mechanism. In addition, Macrophagenex is capable of enhancing the therapeutic efficiency of anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in vivo. This simple and adaptable approach may offer a platform for the rapid generation of complex cellular systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2003492
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number49
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2020


  • biomolecules
  • cell therapy
  • erythrocytes
  • macrophages
  • polyphenol


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