Tunable Carbon Nanotube/Protein Core-Shell Nanoparticles with NIR- and Enzymatic-Responsive Cytotoxicity



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A unique procedure is developed to capture carbon nanotubes into closed virus-like protein cages with a controllable shell. The cross-linked shell varies in thickness within ≈100–102 nm, and can be entirely removed by enzyme degradation. The cytotoxicity is entirely suppressed, but can be promoted again by enzymes and near-infrared light. These hybrids can be decorated with functional inorganic nanoparticles or processed into nanocomposites.