Attenuated protein expression vectors for use in siRNA rescue experiments.
ABSTRACT: Transient transfection of small interfering RNA (siRNA) provides a powerful approach for studying cellular protein functions, particularly when the target protein can be re-expressed from an exogenous siRNA-resistant construct in order to rescue the knockdown phenotype, confirm siRNA target specificity, and support mutational analyses. Rescue experiments often fail, however, when siRNA-resistant constructs are expressed at suboptimal levels. Here, we describe an ensemble of mammalian protein expression vectors with CMV promoters of differing strengths. Using CHMP2A rescue of HIV-1 budding, we show that these vectors can combine high-transfection efficiencies with tunable protein expression levels to optimize the rescue of cellular phenotypes induced by siRNA transfection.
Project description:Retroviruses and many other enveloped viruses usurp the cellular ESCRT pathway to bud from cells. However, the stepwise process of ESCRT-mediated virus budding can be challenging to analyze in retroviruses like HIV-1 that recruit multiple different ESCRT factors to initiate budding.In this study, we characterized the ESCRT factor requirements for budding of Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV), whose only known direct ESCRT protein interaction is with ALIX. siRNA depletion of endogenous ESCRT proteins and "rescue" experiments with exogenous siRNA-resistant wild type and mutant constructs revealed budding requirements for the following ESCRT proteins: ALIX, CHMP4B, CHMP2A and VPS4A or VPS4B. EIAV budding was inhibited by point mutations that abrogate the direct interactions between ALIX:CHMP4B, CHMP4B:CHMP2A, and CHMP2A:VPS4A/B, indicating that each of these interactions is required for EIAV budding. Unexpectedly, CHMP4B depletion led to formation of multi-lobed and long tubular EIAV virions.We conclude that EIAV budding requires an ESCRT protein network that comprises EIAV Gag-ALIX-CHMP4B-CHMP2A-VPS4 interactions. Our experiments also suggest that CHMP4B recruitment/polymerization helps control Gag polymerization and/or processing to ensure that ESCRT factor assembly and membrane fission occur at the proper stage of virion assembly. These studies help establish EIAV as a streamlined model system for dissecting the stepwise processes of lentivirus assembly and ESCRT-mediated budding.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The ability of transfected synthetic small interfering (si) RNAs to suppress the expression of specific transcripts has proved a useful technique to probe gene function in mammalian cells. However, high production costs limit this technology's utility for many laboratories and experimental situations. Recently, several DNA-based plasmid vectors have been developed that direct transcription of small hairpin RNAs, which are processed into functional siRNAs by cellular enzymes. Although these vectors provide certain advantages over chemically synthesized siRNAs, numerous disadvantages remain including merely transient siRNA expression and low and variable transfection efficiency. RESULTS:To overcome several limitations of plasmid-based siRNA, a retroviral siRNA delivery system was developed based on commerically available vectors. As a pilot study, a vector was designed to target the human Nuclear Dbf2-Related (NDR) kinase. Cells infected with the anti-NDR siRNA virus dramatically downregulate NDR expression, whereas control viruses have no effect on total NDR levels. To confirm and extend these findings, an additional virus was constructed to target a second gene, transcriptional coactivator p75. CONCLUSION:The experiments presented here demonstrate that retroviruses are efficient vectors for delivery of siRNA into mammalian cells. Retrovirus-delivered siRNA provides significant advancement over previously available methods by providing efficient, uniform delivery and immediate selection of stable "knock-down" cells. This development should provide a method to rapidly assess gene function in established cell lines, primary cells, or animals.
Project description:Gene therapy with human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) has been extensively explored for the treatment of diseases resistant to traditional therapies. Intravenous administration leads to rapid clearance from blood circulation and high liver accumulation, which restrict the use of Ad-based vectors in clinical gene therapy protocols that involve systemic administration. We have previously proposed that such limitations can be improved by engineering artificial lipid envelopes around Ad and designed a variety of artificial lipid bilayer envelopes around the viral capsid. In this study, we sought to explore further opportunities that the artificially enveloped virus constructs could offer, by designing a previously unreported gene therapy vector by simultaneous envelopment of Ad and siRNA within the same lipid bilayer. Such a dual-activity vector can offer efficacious therapy for different genetic disorders where both turning on and switching off genes would be needed. Dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to characterize these vectors. Agarose gel electrophoresis, Ribo green and dot blot assays showed that siRNA and Ad virions can be enveloped together within lipid bilayers at high envelopment efficiency. Cellular uptake and in vitro transfection experiments were carried out to show the feasibility of combining siRNA-mediated gene silencing with viral gene transfer using these newly designed dual-activity vectors.
Project description:Nucleic acid reagents, including small interfering RNA (siRNA) and plasmid DNA, are important tools for the study of mammalian cells and are promising starting points for the development of new therapeutic agents. Realizing their full potential, however, requires nucleic acid delivery reagents that are simple to prepare, effective across many mammalian cell lines, and nontoxic. We recently described the extensive surface mutagenesis of proteins in a manner that dramatically increases their net charge. Here, we report that superpositively charged green fluorescent proteins, including a variant with a theoretical net charge of +36 (+36 GFP), can penetrate a variety of mammalian cell lines. Internalization of +36 GFP depends on nonspecific electrostatic interactions with sulfated proteoglycans present on the surface of most mammalian cells. When +36 GFP is mixed with siRNA, protein-siRNA complexes approximately 1.7 mum in diameter are formed. Addition of these complexes to five mammalian cell lines, including four that are resistant to cationic lipid-mediated siRNA transfection, results in potent siRNA delivery. In four of these five cell lines, siRNA transfected by +36 GFP suppresses target gene expression. We show that +36 GFP is resistant to proteolysis, is stable in the presence of serum, and extends the serum half-life of siRNA and plasmid DNA with which it is complexed. A variant of +36 GFP can mediate DNA transfection, enabling plasmid-based gene expression. These findings indicate that superpositively charged proteins can overcome some of the key limitations of currently used transfection agents.
Project description:Most cationic vectors are difficult to avoid the fate of small interfering RNA (siRNA) degradation following the endosome-lysosome pathway during siRNA transfection. In this study, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane isolated from cancer cells was used to fabricate an integrative hybrid nanoplexes (EhCv/siRNA NPs) for improving siRNA transfection. Compared to the undecorated Cv/siEGFR NPs, the ER membrane-decorated EhCv/siRNA NPs exhibits a significantly higher gene silencing effect of siRNA in vitro and a better antitumor activity in nude mice bearing MCF-7 human breast tumor in vivo. Further mechanistic studies demonstrate that functional proteins on the ER membrane plays important roles on improving cellular uptake and altering intracellular trafficking pathway of siRNA. It is worth to believe that the ER membrane decoration on nanoplexes can effectively transport siRNA through the endosome-Golgi-ER pathway to evade lysosomal degradation and enhance the silencing effects of siRNA.
Project description:A series of amphiphiles with differing cationic tri- and di- peptide headgroups, designed and synthesized based on lysine (K), ornithine (O), arginine (R), and glycine (G), have been characterized and evaluated for DNA and siRNA delivery. DNA-lipoplexes formed from the tri- and di- lipopeptides possessed lipid:nucleic acid charge ratios of 7:1 to 10:1, diameters of ~200 nm to 375 nm, zeta potentials of 23 mV to 41 mV, melting temperatures of 12 °C to 46 °C, and lamellar repeat periods of 6 nm to 8 nm. These lipid-DNA complexes formed supramolecular structures in which DNA is entrapped at the surface between multilamellar liposomal vesicles. Compared to their DNA counterparts, siRNA-lipoplexes formed slightly larger complexes (348 nm to 424 nm) and required higher charge ratios to form stable structures. Additionally, it was observed that lipids with multivalent, tripeptide headgroups (i.e., KGG, OGG, and RGG) were successful at transfecting DNA in vitro, whereas DNA transfection with the dipeptide lipids proved ineffective. Cellular uptake of DNA was more effective with the KGG compared to the KG lipopeptide. In siRNA knockdown experiments, both tri- and di- peptide lipids (i.e., RGG, GGG, KG, OG, RG, GG) showed some efficacy, but total cellular uptake of siRNA complexes was not indicative of knockdown outcomes and suggested that the intracellular fate of lipoplexes may be a factor. Overall, this lipopeptide study expands the library of efficient DNA transfection vectors available for use, introduces new vectors for siRNA delivery, and begins to address the structure-activity relationships which influence delivery and transfection efficacy.
Project description:In this study, we report a new dipeptide functionalization strategy for developing new dendritic bolaamphiphile vectors for efficient siRNA transfection. A focused library of dipeptides was constructed using four amino acids: l-arginine, l-histidine, l-lysine, and l-tryptophan. The dipeptides were coupled to two dendritic bolaamphiphile scaffolds that we developed previously, allowing us to quickly access a focused library of discrete vectors with multivalent dendritic dipeptide functionalities. The resulting discrete bolaamphiphiles were screened for siRNA delivery in vitro in HEK-293 and HeLa cells. Bolaamphiphiles functionalized with dipeptides containing Lys or Arg and either His or Trp were the most effective for in vitro siRNA delivery. Necessary cationic charge to ensure efficient siRNA binding are provided by Arg and Lys residues, whereas endosomal escape is provided through pH responsive buffering of His or membrane interactions of Trp. The most effective vectors (F10 HR/RH) exhibited greater than 75% gene silencing in multiple cell lines and exhibited serum stability.
Project description:Cancers originating from the digestive system account for 290,000 or ~20% of all new cancer cases annually in the US. We previously developed paclitaxel-loaded tumor-penetrating microparticles (TPM) for intraperitoneal (IP) treatment of peritoneal tumors (Lu et al., 2008; Tsai et al., 2007; Tsai et al., 2013). TPM is undergoing NIH-supported IND-enabling studies for clinical evaluation. The present study evaluated the hypothesis that TPM, via inducing apoptosis and expanding the interstitial space, promotes the delivery and transfection of lipid vectors containing siRNA. The in vivo model was the metastatic human Hs766T pancreatic tumor that, upon IP injection, produced widely distributed solid tumors and ascites in the peritoneal cavity in 100% of animals. The target gene was survivin, an anti-apoptotic protein induced by chemotherapy and associated with metastases and poor prognosis of patients with gastric and colorectal cancers. The siRNA carrier was pegylated liposomes comprising cationic and neutral lipids plus a fusogenic lipid (PCat). PCat-loaded with survivin siRNA (PCat-siSurvivin) was active in cultured cells (decreased survivin mRNA and protein levels, reduced cell clonogenicity, enhanced paclitaxel activity), but lost its activity in vivo; this difference is consistent with the well-known problem of inadequate delivery and transfection of siRNA in vivo. In comparison, single agent TPM prolonged animal survival and, as expected, induced survivin expression in tumors. Addition of PCat-siSurvivin reversed the TPM-induced survivin expression and enhanced the antitumor activity of TPM. The finding that in vivo survivin knockdown by PCat-siSurvivin was successful only when it was given in combination with TPM provides the proof-of-concept that tumor priming promotes the delivery and transfection of liposomal siRNA. The data further suggest the TPM/PCat-siSurvivin combination as a potentially useful chemo-gene therapy for peritoneal cancer.
Project description:Viruses have evolved to be outstandingly efficient at gene delivery, but their use as vectors is limited by safety risks. Inspired by the structure of viruses, we constructed a virus-mimicking vector (denoted as TR4@siRNA@Tf NCs) with virus-like architecture and infection properties. Composed of a hydrophilic peptide, an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) luminogen, and a lipophilic tail, TR4 imitates the viral capsid and endows the vector with AIE properties as well as efficient siRNA compaction. The outer glycoprotein transferrin (Tf) mimics the viral envelope protein and endows the vector with reduced cytotoxicity as well as enhanced targeting capability. Because of the strong interaction between Tf and transferrin receptors on the cell surface, the Tf coating can accelerate the intracellular release of siRNA into the cytosol. Tf and TR4 are eventually cycled back to the cell membrane. Our results confirmed that the constructed siRNA@TR4@Tf NCs show a high siRNA silencing efficiency of 85% with significantly reduced cytotoxicity. These NCs have comparable transfection ability to natural viruses while avoiding the toxicity issues associated with typical nonviral vectors. Therefore, this proposed virus-like siRNA vector, which integrates the advantages of both viral and nonviral vectors, should find many potential applications in gene therapy.
Project description:Herein, we present the first evaluation of cationic dendrimers based on 2,2-bis(methylol)propionic acid (bis-MPA) as nonviral vectors for transfection of short interfering RNA (siRNA) in cell cultures. The study encompassed dendrimers of generation one to four (G1?G4), modified to bear 6?48 amino end-groups, where the G2?G4 proved to be capable of siRNA complexation and protection against RNase-mediated degradation. The dendrimers were nontoxic to astrocytes, glioma (C6), and glioblastoma (U87), while G3 and G4 exhibited concentration dependent toxicity towards primary neurons. The G2 showed no toxicity to primary neurons at any of the tested concentrations. Fluorescence microscopy experiments suggested that the dendrimers are highly efficient at endo-lysosomal escape since fluorescently labeled dendrimers were localized specifically in mitochondria, and diffuse cytosolic distribution of fluorescent siRNA complexed by dendrimers was observed. This is a desired feature for intracellular drug delivery, since the endocytic pathway otherwise transfers the drugs into lysosomes where they can be degraded without reaching their intended target. siRNA-transfection was successful in C6 and U87 cell lines using the G3 and G4 dendrimers followed by a decrease of approximately 20% of target protein p42-MAPK expression.