Modular Assembly of Red Blood Cell Superstructures from Metal–Organic Framework Nanoparticle-Based Building Blocks

Jimin Guo, Yunlong Yu, Wei Zhu, Rita E. Serda, Stefan Franco, Lu Wang, Qi Lei, Jacob Ongudi Agola, Achraf Noureddine, Evelyn Ploetz, Stefan Wuttke, C. Jeffrey Brinker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Bio/artificial hybrid nanosystems based on biological matter and synthetic nanoparticles (NPs) remain a holy grail of materials science. Herein, inspired by the well-defined metal–organic framework (MOF) with diverse chemical diversities, the concept of “armored red blood cells” (armored RBCs) is introduced, which are native RBCs assembled within and protected by a functional exoskeleton of interlinked MOF NPs. Exoskeletons are generated within seconds through MOF NP interlocking based on metal-phenolic coordination and RBC membrane/NP complexation via hydrogen-bonding interactions at the cellular interface. Armored RBC formation is shown to be generalizable to many classes of MOF NPs or any NPs that can be coated by MOF. Moreover, it is found that armored RBCs preserve the original properties of RBCs (such as oxygen carrier capability and good ex ovo/in vivo circulation property) and show enhanced resistance against external stressors (like osmotic pressure, detergent, toxic NPs, and freezing conditions). By modifying the physicochemical properties of MOF NPs, armored RBCs provide the capability for blood nitric oxide sensing or multimodal imaging. The synthesis of armored RBCs is straightforward, reliable, and reversible and hence, represent a new class of hybrid biomaterials with a broad range of functionalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2005935
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 3 2021


  • bioapplications
  • biohybrid materials
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • multifunction
  • red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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