Identification and characterization of receptor-specific peptides for siRNA delivery.
ABSTRACT: Tumor-targeted delivery of siRNA remains a major barrier in fully realizing the therapeutic potential of RNA interference. While cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) are promising siRNA carrier candidates, they are universal internalizers that lack cell-type specificity. Herein, we design and screen a library of tandem tumor-targeting and cell-penetrating peptides that condense siRNA into stable nanocomplexes for cell type-specific siRNA delivery. Through physiochemical and biological characterization, we identify a subset of the nanocomplex library of that are taken up by cells via endocytosis, trigger endosomal escape and unpacking of the carrier, and ultimately deliver siRNA to the cytosol in a receptor-specific fashion. To better understand the structure-activity relationships that govern receptor-specific siRNA delivery, we employ computational regression analysis and identify a set of key convergent structural properties, namely the valence of the targeting ligand and the charge of the peptide, that help transform ubiquitously internalizing cell-penetrating peptides into cell type-specific siRNA delivery systems.
Project description:Many in vitro studies have demonstrated that silencing of cancerous genes by siRNAs is a potential therapeutic approach for blocking tumor growth. However, siRNAs are not cell type-selective, cannot specifically target tumor cells, and therefore have limited in vivo application for siRNA-mediated gene therapy.In this study, we tested a functional RNA nanocomplex which exclusively targets and affects human anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) by taking advantage of the abnormal expression of CD30, a unique surface biomarker, and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene in lymphoma cells. The nanocomplexes were formulated by incorporating both ALK siRNA and a RNA-based CD30 aptamer probe onto nano-sized polyethyleneimine-citrate carriers. To minimize potential cytotoxicity, the individual components of the nanocomplexes were used at sub-cytotoxic concentrations. Dynamic light scattering showed that formed nanocomplexes were ~140 nm in diameter and remained stable for more than 24 hours in culture medium. Cell binding assays revealed that CD30 aptamer probes selectively targeted nanocomplexes to ALCL cells, and confocal fluorescence microscopy confirmed intracellular delivery of the nanocomplex. Cell transfection analysis showed that nanocomplexes silenced genes in an ALCL cell type-selective fashion. Moreover, exposure of ALCL cells to nanocomplexes carrying both ALK siRNAs and CD30 RNA aptamers specifically silenced ALK gene expression, leading to growth arrest and apoptosis.Taken together, our findings indicate that this functional RNA nanocomplex is both tumor cell type-selective and cancer gene-specific for ALCL cells.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short cationic peptides that have been extensively studied as drug delivery vehicles for proteins, nucleic acids and nanoparticles. However, the formulation of CPP-based therapeutics into different pharmaceutical formulations and their stability in relevant biological environments have not been given the same attention. Here, we show that a newly developed CPP, PepFect 14 (PF14), forms non-covalent nanocomplexes with short interfering RNA (siRNA), which are able to elicit efficient RNA-interference (RNAi) response in different cell-lines. RNAi effect is obtained at low siRNA doses with a unique kinetic profile. Furthermore, the solid dispersion technique is utilized to formulate PF14/siRNA nanocomplexes into solid formulations that are as active as the freshly prepared nanocomplexes in solution. Importantly, the nanocomplexes are stable and active in mediating RNAi response after incubation with simulated gastric fluid (SGF) that is highly acidic. These results demonstrate the activity of PF14 in delivering and protecting siRNA in different pharmaceutical forms and biological environments.
Project description:The assembly, stability, and timely disassembly of short interfering RNA (siRNA) nanocomplexes have the potential to affect the efficiency of siRNA delivery and gene silencing. As such, the design of new probes that can measure these properties without significantly perturbing the nanocomplexes or their environment may facilitate the study and further development of new siRNA nanocomplexes. Herein, we study Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-labeled siRNA probes that can track the assembly, stability, and disassembly of siRNA nanocomplexes in different environments. The probe is composed of two identical siRNAs, each labeled with a fluorophore. Upon nanocomplex formation, the siRNA-bound fluorophores become locally aggregated within the nanocomplex and undergo FRET. A key advantage of this technique is that the delivery vehicle (DV) need not be labeled, thus enabling the characterization of a large variety of nanocarriers, some of which may be difficult or even impossible to label. We demonstrate proof-of-concept by measuring the assembly of various DVs with siRNAs and show good agreement with gel electrophoresis experiments. As a consequence of not having to label the DV, we are able to determine nanocomplex biophysical parameters such as the extracellular apparent dissociation constants (K(D)) and intracellular disassembly half-life for several in-house and proprietary commercial DVs. Furthermore, the lack of DV modification allows for a true direct comparison between DVs as well as correlation between their biophysical properties and gene silencing.
Project description:Gene therapy represents a promising treatment for the Alzheimer׳s disease (AD). However, gene delivery specific to brain lesions through systemic administration remains big challenge. In our previous work, we have developed an siRNA nanocomplex able to be specifically delivered to the amyloid plaques through surface modification with both CGN peptide for the blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration and QSH peptide for β-amyloid binding. But, whether the as-designed nanocomplex could indeed improve the gene accumulation in the impaired neuron cells and ameliorate AD-associated symptoms remains further study. Herein, we prepared the nanocomplexes with an siRNA against β-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1), the rate-limiting enzyme of Aβ production, as the therapeutic siRNA of AD. The nanocomplexes exhibited high distribution in the Aβ deposits-enriched hippocampus, especially in the neurons near the amyloid plaques after intravenous administration. In APP/PS1 transgenic mice, the nanocomplexes down-regulated BACE1 in both mRNA and protein levels, as well as Aβ and amyloid plaques to the level of wild-type mice. Moreover, the nanocomplexes significantly increased the level of synaptophysin and rescued memory loss of the AD transgenic mice without hematological or histological toxicity. Taken together, this work presented direct evidences that the design of precise gene delivery to the AD lesions markedly improves the therapeutic outcome.
Project description:Nonviral gene delivery has seen major progress in the last two decades owing to facile synthesis, low toxicity, and ease of modification of nanocarriers that take nucleic acids to cells and tissues. Gene delivery nanocomplexes need to reach the target locations in significant amounts by overcoming multiple barriers. While the importance of nanocomplex stability, cellular uptake, intracellular trafficking, and nuclear localization has been studied extensively, the role of cellular retention and recycling of these nanocomplexes is less understood in the context of gene delivery. In this study, we used different DNA carriers and made efforts to understand the role played by cellular retention in determining their gene delivery efficiency across multiple cell lines. In addition, we also analyzed whether state of complexation and localization of the nanocomplexes play a role in conjunction with cellular retention. We observed higher transfection efficiencies for nanocomplexes showing better retention, lower unpackaging, and low recycling. Our data also suggests that nanocomplexes made of peptides with terminal cysteine modification show enhanced retention and transfection efficiency compared to their counterparts with no terminal cysteine. Overall, the work highlights myriad of factors to be considered for improving gene delivery efficiency of nanocomplexes.
Project description:We developed and tested a multicomponent peptide-woven siRNA nanocomplex (PwSN) comprising different peptides designed for efficient cellular targeting, endosomal escape, and release of siRNA. To enhance tumor-specific cellular uptake, we connected an interleukin-4 receptor-targeting peptide (I4R) to a nine-arginine peptide (9r), yielding I4R-9r. To facilitate endosomal escape, we blended endosomolytic peptides into the I4R-9r to form a multicomponent nanocomplex. Lastly, we modified 9r peptides by varying the number and positions of positive charges to obtain efficient release of siRNA from the nanocomplex in the cytosol. Using this step-wise approach for overcoming the biological challenges of siRNA delivery, we obtained an optimized PwSN with significant biological activity in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, surface plasmon resonance analyses and three-dimensional peptide models demonstrated that our designed peptide adopted a unique structure that was correlated with faster complex disassembly and a better gene-silencing effect. These studies further elucidate the siRNA nanocomplex delivery pathway and demonstrate the applicability of our stepwise strategy to the design of siRNA carriers capable of overcoming multiple challenges and achieving efficient delivery.
Project description:Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a promising molecule for gene therapy, but its therapeutic administration remains problematic. Among the recently proposed vectors, cell-penetrating peptides show great promise in in vivo trials for siRNA delivery. Human protein DMBT1 (deleted in malignant brain tumor 1) is a pattern recognition molecule that interacts with polyanions and recognizes and aggregates bacteria. Taking advantage of these properties, we investigated whether specific synthetic DMBT1-derived peptides could be used to formulate nanoparticles for siRNA administration. Using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay and UV spectra, we identified two DMBT1 peptides that could encapsulate the siRNA with a self- and co-assembly mechanism. The complexes were stable for at least 2 hr in the presence of either fetal bovine serum (FBS) or RNase A, with peptide-dependent time span protection. ?-potential, circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, and transmission electron microscopy revealed negatively charged nanoparticles with an average diameter of 10-800 nm, depending on the reaction conditions, and a spherical or rice-shaped morphology, depending on the peptide and ?-helix conformation. We successfully transfected human MCF7 cells with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-DMBT1-peptide-Cy3-siRNA complexes. Finally, DMBT1 peptides encapsulating an siRNA targeting a fluorescent reporter gene showed efficient gene silencing in MCF7-recombinant cells. These results lay the foundation for a new research line to exploit DMBT1-peptide nanocomplexes for therapeutic siRNA delivery.
Project description:In this study, through covalent conjugation and lipid material entrapment, a combined modification strategy was established for effective delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA). Single strands of siRNA targeting to BRAFV600E gene (siMB3) conjugated with cRGD peptide at 3'-terminus or 5'-terminus via cleavable disulfide bond was synthesized and then annealed with corresponding strands to obtain single and bis-cRGD-siRNA conjugates. A cationic lipid material (CLD) developed by our laboratory was mixed with the conjugates to generate nanocomplexes; their uniformity and electrical property were revealed by particle size and zeta potential measurement. Compared with CLD/siBraf, CLD/cRGD-siBraf achieved higher cell uptake and more excellent tumor-targeting ability, especially 21 (sense-5'/antisense-3?-cRGD-congjugate) nanocomplex. Moreover, they can regulate multiple pathways to varying degree and reduce acidification of endosome. Compared with the gene silencing of different conjugates, single or bis-cRGD-conjugated siRNA showed little differences except 22 (5/5) which cRGD was conjugated at 5'-terminus of antisense strand and sense strand. However bis-cRGD conjugate 21 nanocomplex exhibited better specific target gene silencing at multiple time points. Furthermore, the serum stabilities of the bis-cRGD conjugates were higher than those of the single-cRGD conjugates. In conclusion, all these data suggested that CLD/bis-conjugates, especially CLD/21, can be an effective system for delivery of siRNA to target BRAFV600E gene for therapy of melanoma.
Project description:Traditional peptide-mediated siRNA transfection via peptide transduction domains exhibits limited cytoplasmic delivery of siRNA due to endosomal entrapment. This work overcomes these limitations with the use of membrane-destabilizing peptides derived from melittin for the knockdown of NFkB signaling in a model of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. While the mechanism of siRNA delivery into the cytoplasmic compartment by peptide transduction domains has not been well studied, our analysis of melittin derivatives indicates that concurrent nanocomplex disassembly and peptide-mediated endosomolysis are crucial to siRNA transfection. Importantly, in the case of the most active derivative, p5RHH, this process is initiated by acidic pH, indicating that endosomal acidification after macropinocytosis can trigger siRNA release into the cytoplasm. These data provide general principles regarding nanocomplex response to endocytosis, which may guide the development of peptide/siRNA nanocomplex-based transfection.