Great success in HCV therapy was achieved by the development of direct-acting antivirals (DAA). However, the unsolved issues such as high cost and genotype dependency drive us to pursue additional therapeutic agents to be used instead or in combination with DAA. The cationic peptide p41 is one of such candidates displaying submicromolar anti-HCV potency. By electrostatic coupling of p41 with anionic poly(amino acid)-based block copolymers, antiviral peptide nanocomplexes (APN) platform was developed to improve peptide stability and to reduce cytotoxicity associated with positive charge. Herein, we developed a facile method to prepare galactosylated Gal-APN and tested their feasibility as liver-specific delivery system. In vitro, Gal-APN displayed specific internalization in hepatoma cell lines. Even though liver-targeted and non-targeted APN displayed comparable antiviral activity, Gal-APN offered prominent advantages to prevent HCV association with lipid droplets and suppress intracellular expression of HCV proteins. Moreover, in vivo preferential liver accumulation of Gal-APN was revealed in the biodistribution study. Altogether, this work illustrates the potential of Gal-APN as a novel liver-targeted therapy against HCV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17009
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Anionic poly(amino acid)-based block copolymer
  • Antiviral peptide nanoparticle
  • Biodistribution
  • HCV proteins
  • Liver-targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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