Construction of target-specific virus-like particles for the delivery of algicidal compounds to harmful algae

Beom Sik Kang, Chi Yong Eom, Wonduck Kim, Pyoung Il Kim, Sun Yi Ju, Jaewon Ryu, Gui Hwan Han, Jeong Il Oh, Hoon Cho, Seung Ho Baek, Gueeda Kim, Minju Kim, Jaekyung Hyun, Eonseon Jin, Si Wouk Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Summary: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can lead to substantial socio-economic losses and extensive damage to aquatic ecosystems, drinking water sources and human health. Common algicidal techniques, including ozonation, ultrasonic treatment and dispersion of algae-killing chemicals, are unsatisfactory both economically and ecologically. This study therefore presents a novel alternative strategy for the efficient control of deleterious algae via the use of host-specific virus-like particles (VLPs) combined with chemically synthesized algicidal compounds. The capsid protein of HcRNAV34, a single-stranded RNA virus that infects the toxic dinoflagellate, Heterocapsa circularisquama, was expressed in and purified from Escherichia coli and then self-assembled into VLPsin vitro. Next, the algicidal compound, thiazolidinedione 49 (TD49), was encapsidated into HcRNAV34 VLPs for specific delivery to H. circularisquama. Consequently, HcRNAV34 VLPs demonstrated the same host selectivity as naturally occurring HcRNAV34 virions, while TD49-encapsidated VLPs showed a more potent target-specific algicidal effect than TD49 alone. These results indicate that target-specific VLPs for the delivery of cytotoxic compounds to nuisance algae might provide a safe, environmentally friendly approach for the management of HABs in aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1474
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015 Apr 1


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