Polydopamine (PDA) coating as a bioinspired strategy for nanoparticles (NPs) has been extensively applied in cancer theranostics. However, a cellular-level understanding of nano-biointeraction of these PDA-coated NPs (PDNPs), which drives the fate of them and acts as a critical step to determine their efficacy, still remains unknown. Herein, we utilized the representative mesoporous silica NPs (MSNs) to be coated with PDA and study their nano-bioactivities in cancer cells. HeLa cell line was utilized as a model in this study. The PDNPs were discovered to be internalized through three specific pathways, that is, Caveolae-, Arf6-dependent endocytosis, and Rab34-mediated macropinocytosis (55%, 20% and 37% of uptake inhibition by nystatin, Arf6 knockdown, and rottlerin, respectively). Autophagy-mediated accumulation of PDNPs in lysosomes was observed and the formed PDA shells shedded in the lysosomes. Almost 40% of the NPs were transported out of cells via Rab8/10- and Rab3/26-mediated exocytosis pathways at our tested level. On the basis of these results, a novel combined cancer treatment strategy was further proposed using drug-loaded MSNs-PDA by (i) utilizing naturally intracellular mechanism-controlled PDA shedding for organelle-targeted release of drugs in lysosomes to generate lysosome impairment and (ii) blocking the demonstrated exocytosis pathways for enhanced therapeutic efficacy.
- intracellular fate
- lysosome targeting
- polydopamine coating and shedding