A cell-penetrating helical polymer for siRNA delivery to mammalian cells.
ABSTRACT: Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are routinely used for intracellular delivery of a variety of cargo, including drugs, genes, and short interfering RNA (siRNA). Most CPPs are active only upon exposure to acidic environments inside of late endosomes, thereby facilitating the endosomal escape of internalized vectors. Here, we describe the generation of a synthetic polypeptide--PVBLG(n)-8--that is able to adopt a helical structure independent of pH. Like other CPPs, the helical structure of PVBLG(n)-8 allows the polypeptide to destabilize membranes. However, since the helix is stable at all physiologically relevant pH values between pH 2 and pH 7.4, the membrane permeation properties of PVBLG(n)-8 are irreversible. Given its pH-insensitive activity, our results suggest that PVBLG(n)-8 is able to facilitate efficient siRNA delivery by causing pore formation in the cell membranes through which either free or complexed siRNA is able to diffuse. This nonspecific form of entry into the cell cytosol may prove useful when trying to deliver siRNA to cells which have proven to be difficult to transfect.
Project description:Poly(arginine) mimics bearing long hydrophobic side chains adopt stable helical conformation and exhibit helix-related cell-penetrating properties. Elongating polypeptide backbone length and increasing side chain hydrophobicity further increase the helicities of poly(arginine) mimics. They show superior cell membrane permeability up to two orders of magnitude higher than that of HIV-TAT peptide and excellent DNA and siRNA delivery efficiencies in various mammalian cells.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are delivery vectors widely used to aid the transport of biologically active cargoes to intracellular targets. These cargoes include small interfering RNAs (siRNA) that are not naturally internalized by cells. Elucidating the complexities behind the formation of CPP and cargo complexes is crucial for understanding the processes related to their delivery. In this study, we used modified analogs of the CPP transportan10 and investigated the binding properties of these CPPs to siRNA, the formation parameters of the CPP/siRNA complexes, and their stabiliy to enzymatic degradation. We conclude that the pH dependent change of the net charge of the CPP may very well be the key factor leading to the high delivery efficiency and the optimal binding strength between CPPs to siRNAs, while the hydrophobicity, secondary structure of the CPP, and the positions of the positive charges are responsible for the stability of the CPP/siRNA particles. Also, CPPs with distinct hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions may assemble into nanoparticles that could be described as core-shell formulations.
Project description:The use of gene therapeutics, including short interfering RNA (siRNA), is limited by the lack of efficient delivery systems. An appealing approach to deliver gene therapeutics involves noncovalent complexation with cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) which are able to penetrate the cell membranes of mammals. Although a number of CPPs have been discovered, our understanding of their complexation and translocation of siRNA is as yet insufficient. Here, we report on computational studies comparing the binding affinities of CPPs with siRNA, considering a variety of CPPs. Specifically, seventeen CPPs from three different categories, cationic, amphipathic, and hydrophobic CPPs, were studied. Molecular mechanics were used to minimize structures, while molecular docking calculations were used to predict the orientation and favorability of sequentially binding multiple peptides to siRNA. Binding scores from docking calculations were highest for amphipathic peptides over cationic and hydrophobic peptides. Results indicate that initial complexation of peptides will likely occur along the major groove of the siRNA, driven by electrostatic interactions. Subsequent binding of CPPs is likely to occur in the minor groove and later on bind randomly, to siRNA or previously bound CPPs, through hydrophobic interactions. However, hydrophobic CPPs do not show this binding pattern. Ultimately binding yields a positively charged nanoparticle capable of noninvasive cellular import of therapeutic molecules.
Project description:Systemic, non-viral siRNA delivery for cancer treatment is mainly achieved via condensation by cationic materials (e.g., lipids and cationic polymers), which nevertheless, suffers from poor serum stability, non-specific tissue interaction, and unsatisfactory membrane activity against efficient in vivo gene knockdown. Here, we report the design of a metastable, cancer-targeting siRNA delivery system based on two functional polymers, PVBLG-8, a cationic, helical cell-penetrating polypeptide, and poly(l-glutamic acid) (PLG), an anionic random-coiled polypeptide. PVBLG-8 with rigid, linear structure showed weak siRNA condensation capability, and PLG with flexible chains was incorporated as a stabilizer which provided sufficient molecular entanglement with PVBLG-8 to encapsulate the siRNA within the polymeric network. The obtained PVBLG-8/siRNA/PLG nanoparticles (PSP NPs) with positive charges were sequentially coated with additional amount of PLG, which reversed the surface charge from positive to negative to yield the metastable PVBLG-8/siRNA/PLG@PLG (PSPP) NPs. The PSPP NPs featured desired serum stability during circulation to enhance tumor accumulation via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Upon acidification in the tumor extracellular microenvironment and intracellular endosomes, the partial protonation of PLG on PSPP NPs surface would lead to dissociation of PLG coating from NPs, exposure of the highly membrane-active PVBLG-8, and surface charge reversal from negative to positive, which subsequently promoted tumor penetration, selective cancer cell internalization, and efficient endolysosomal escape. When siRNA against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was encapsulated, the PSPP NPs showed excellent tumor penetration capability, tumor cell uptake level, EGFR silencing efficiency, and tumor growth inhibition efficacy in U-87 MG glioblastoma tumor spheroids in vitro and in xenograft tumor-bearing mice in vivo, outperforming the PSP NPs and several commercial reagents such as Lipofectamine 2000 and poly(l-lysine) (PLL). This study therefore demonstrates a facile and unique design approach of metastable and charge reversal NPs, which overcomes multiple biological barriers against systemic siRNA delivery toward anti-cancer treatment.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been established as excellent candidates for mediating drug delivery into cells. When designing synthetic CPPs for drug delivery applications, it is important to understand their ability to penetrate the cell membrane. In this paper, anionic or zwitterionic phospholipid monolayers at the air-water interface are used as model cell membranes to monitor the membrane insertion potential of synthetic CPPs. The insertion potential of CPPs having different cationic and hydrophobic amino acids were recorded using a Langmuir monolayer approach that records peptide adsorption to model membranes. Fluorescence microscopy was used to visualize alterations in phospholipid packing due to peptide insertion. All CPPs had the highest penetration potential in the presence of anionic phospholipids. In addition, two of three amphiphilic CPPs inserted into zwitterionic phospholipids, but none of the hydrophilic CPPs did. All the CPPs studied induced disruptions in phospholipid packing and domain morphology, which were most pronounced for amphiphilic CPPs. Overall, small changes to amino acids and peptide sequences resulted in dramatically different insertion potentials and membrane reorganization. Designers of synthetic CPPs for efficient intracellular drug delivery should consider small nuances in CPP electrostatic and hydrophobic properties.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides have long held great potential for delivery of biomolecular cargos for research, therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. They allow rapid, relatively nontoxic passage of a wide variety of biomolecules through the plasma membranes of living cells. However, CPP-based research tools and therapeutics have been stymied by poor efficiency in release from endosomes and a great deal of effort has been made to solve this 'endosomal escape problem.' Previously, we showed that use of a reversible, noncovalent coupling between CPP and cargo using calmodulin and a calmodulin binding motif allowed efficient delivery of cargo proteins to the cytoplasm in baby hamster kidney and other mammalian cell lines. The present report demonstrates the efficacy of our CPP-adaptor scheme for efficient delivery of model cargos to the cytoplasm using a variety of CPPs and adaptors. Effective overcoming of the endosomal escape problem is further demonstrated by the delivery of cargo to the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes by addition of appropriate subcellular localization signals to the cargos. CPP-adaptors were also used to deliver cargo to myotubes, demonstrating the feasibility of the system as an alternative to transfection for the manipulation of hard-to-transfect cells.
Project description:Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs, Fe3O4) incorporated into the complexes of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs)-oligonucleotides (ONs) promoted the cell transfection for plasmid transfection, splice correction, and gene silencing efficiencies. Six types of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs; PeptFect220 (denoted PF220), PF221, PF222, PF223, PF224 and PF14) and three types of gene therapeutic agents (plasmid (pGL3), splicing correcting oligonucleotides (SCO), and small interfering RNA (siRNA) were investigated. Magnetic nanoparticles incorporated into the complexes of CPPs-pGL3, CPPs-SCO, and CPPs-siRNA showed high cell biocompatibility and efficiently transfected the investigated cells with pGL3, SCO, and siRNA, respectively. Gene transfer vectors formed among PF14, SCO, and MNPs (PF14-SCO-MNPs) showed a superior transfection efficiency (up to 4-fold) compared to the noncovalent PF14-SCO complex, which was previously reported with a higher efficiency compared to commercial vector called Lipofectamine™2000. The high transfection efficiency of the new complexes (CPPs-SCO-MNPs) may be attributed to the morphology, low cytotoxicity, and the synergistic effect of MNPs and CPPs. PF14-pDNA-MNPs is an efficient complex for in vivo gene delivery upon systemic administration. The conjugation of CPPs-ONs with inorganic magnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4) may open new venues for selective and efficient gene therapy.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), such as nona-arginine (9R), poorly translocate siRNA into cells. Our studies demonstrate that attaching 9R to ligands that bind cell surface receptors quantitatively increases siRNA uptake and importantly, allows functional delivery of complexed siRNA. The mechanism involved accumulation of ligand-9R:siRNA microparticles on the cell membrane, which induced transient membrane inversion at the site of ligand-9R binding and rapid siRNA translocation into the cytoplasm. siRNA release also occurred late after endocytosis when the ligand was attached to the L isoform of 9R, but not the protease-resistant 9DR, prolonging mRNA knockdown. This critically depended on endosomal proteolytic activity, implying that partial CPP degradation is required for endosome-to-cytosol translocation. The data demonstrate that ligand attachment renders simple polycationic CPPs effective for siRNA delivery by restoring their intrinsic property of translocation.
Project description:Cationic cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are a promising vehicle for the delivery of macromolecular drugs. Although many studies have indicated that CPPs enter cells by endocytosis, the mechanisms by which they cross endosomal membranes remain elusive. On the basis of experiments with liposomes, we propose that CPP escape into the cytosol is based on leaky fusion (i.e., fusion associated with the permeabilization of membranes) of the bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP)-enriched membranes of late endosomes. In our experiments, prototypic CPP HIV-1 TAT peptide did not interact with liposomes mimicking the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane, but it did induce lipid mixing and membrane leakage as it translocated into liposomes mimicking the lipid composition of late endosome. Both membrane leakage and lipid mixing depended on the BMP content and were promoted at acidic pH, which is characteristic of late endosomes. Substitution of BMP with its structural isomer, phosphatidylglycerol (PG), significantly reduced both leakage of the aqueous probe from liposomes and lipid mixing between liposomes. Although affinity of binding to TAT was similar for BMP and PG, BMP exhibited a higher tendency to support the inverted hexagonal phase than PG. Finally, membrane leakage and peptide translocation were both inhibited by inhibitors of lipid mixing, further substantiating the hypothesis that cationic peptides cross BMP-enriched membranes by inducing leaky fusion between them.
Project description:Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are intriguing molecules that have received much attention, both in terms of mechanistic analysis and as transporters for intracellular therapeutic delivery. Most CPPs contain an abundance of cationic charged residues, typically arginine, where the amino acid compositions, rather than specific sequences, tend to determine their ability to enter cells. Hydrophobic residues are often added to cationic sequences to create efficient CPPs, but typically at the penalty of increased cytotoxicity. Here, we examined polypeptides containing glycosylated, cationic derivatives of methionine, where we found these hydrophilic polypeptides to be surprisingly effective as CPPs and to also possess low cytotoxicity. X-ray analysis of how these new polypeptides interact with lipid membranes revealed that the incorporation of sterically demanding hydrophilic cationic groups in polypeptides is an unprecedented new concept for design of potent CPPs.