Enhanced gene silencing through human serum albumin-mediated delivery of polyethylenimine-siRNA polyplexes.
ABSTRACT: Small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted therapeutics (STT) offers a compelling alternative to tradition medications for treatment of genetic diseases by providing a means to silence the expression of specific aberrant proteins, through interference at the expression level. The perceived advantage of siRNA therapy is its ability to target, through synthetic antisense oligonucleotides, any part of the genome. Although STT provides a high level of specificity, it is also hindered by poor intracellular uptake, limited blood stability, high degradability and non-specific immune stimulation. Since serum proteins has been considered as useful vehicles for targeting tumors, in this study we investigated the effect of incorporation of human serum albumin (HSA) in branched polyethylenimine (bPEI)-siRNA polyplexes in their internalization in epithelial and endothelial cells. We observed that introduction of HSA preserves the capacity of bPEI to complex with siRNA and protect it against extracellular endonucleases, while affording significantly improved internalization and silencing efficiency, compared to bPEI-siRNA polyplexes in endothelial and metastatic breast cancer epithelial cells. Furthermore, the uptake of the HSA-bPEI-siRNA ternary polyplexes occurred primarily through a caveolae-mediated endocytosis, thus providing evidence for a clear role for HSA in polyplex internalization. These results provide further impetus to explore the role of serum proteins in delivery of siRNA.
Project description:Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are able to silence their target genes when they are successfully delivered intact into the cytoplasm. Delivery systems that enhance siRNA localization to the cytoplasm can facilitate gene silencing by siRNA therapeutics. We describe an arginine-conjugated poly(cystaminebisacrylamide-diaminohexane) (poly(CBA-DAH-R)), a bioreducible cationic polymer, as an siRNA carrier for therapeutic gene silencing for cancer. After intracellular uptake of the siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplexes, the reductive environment of the cytoplasm cleaves the disulfide linkages in the polymeric backbone, resulting in decomplexing of the siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplexes and release of siRNA molecules throughout the cytoplasm. The siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplexes, which demonstrate increased membrane permeability with arginine modification, have a similar level of cellular uptake as siRNA/bPEI polyplexes. The VEGF siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplexes, however, inhibit VEGF expression to a greater degree than VEGF siRNA/bPEI in various human cancer cell lines. The improved RNAi activity demonstrated by the VEGF siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplexes is due to enhanced intracellular delivery and effective localization to the cytoplasm of the VEGF siRNAs. These results demonstrate that the VEGF siRNA/poly(CBA-DAH-R) polyplex delivery system may useful for siRNA-based approaches for cancer therapy.
Project description:Branched peptides containing histidines and lysines (HK) have been shown to be effective carriers for DNA and siRNA. We anticipate that elucidation of the binding mechanism of HK with siRNA will provide greater insight into the self-assembly and delivery of the HK:siRNA polyplex. Non-covalent bonds between histidine residues and nucleic acids may enhance the stability of siRNA polyplexes. We first compared the polyplex biophysical properties of a branched HK with those of branched asparagine-lysine peptide (NK). Consistent with siRNA silencing experiments, gel electrophoresis demonstrated that the HK siRNA polyplex maintained its integrity with prolonged incubation in serum, whereas siRNA in complex with NK was degraded in a time-dependent manner. Isothermal titration calorimetry of various peptides binding to siRNA at pH 7.3 showed that branched polylysine, interacted with siRNA was initially endothermic, whereas branched HK exhibited an exothermic reaction at initial binding. The exothermic interaction indicates formation of non-ionic bonds between histidines and siRNA; purely electrostatic interaction is entropy-driven and endothermic. To investigate the type of non-ionic bond, we studied the protonation state of imidazole rings of a selectively (15)N labeled branched HK by heteronuclear single quantum coherence NMR. The peak of N?1-H tautomers of imidazole shifted downfield (in the direction of deprotonation) by 0.5-1.0 ppm with addition of siRNA, providing direct evidence that histidines formed hydrogen bonds with siRNA at physiological pH. These results establish that histidine-rich peptides form hydrogen bonds with siRNA, thereby enhancing the stability and biological activity of the polyplex in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), which is highly expressed in gastric cancers, interacts with programmed death-1 (PD-1) on T cells and is involved in T-cell immune resistance. To increase the therapeutic safety and accuracy of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade, RNA interference through targeted gene delivery was performed in our study. We developed folic acid (FA)- and disulfide (SS)-polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated polyethylenimine (PEI) complexed with superparamagnetic iron oxide Fe3O4 nanoparticles (SPIONs) as a siRNA-delivery system for PD-L1 knockdown. The characterization, binding ability, cytotoxicity, transfection efficiency, and cellular internalization of the polyplex were determined. At nitrogen:phosphate (N:P) ratios of 10 or above, the FA-PEG-SS-PEI-SPIONs bound to PD-L1 siRNA to form a polyplex with a diameter of approximately 120 nm. Cell-viability assays showed that the polyplex had minimal cytotoxicity at low N:P ratios. The FA-conjugated polyplex showed higher transfection efficiency and cellular internalization in the folate receptor-overexpressing gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 than a non-FA-conjugated polyplex. Subsequently, we adopted the targeted FA-PEG-SS-PEI-SPION/siRNA polyplexes at an N:P ratio of 10 for function studies. Cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed that the polyplex could also act as a T2-weighted contrast agent for cancer MRI. Furthermore, one of four PD-L1 siRNAs exhibited effective PD-L1 knockdown in PD-L1-overexpressing SGC-7901. To determine the effects of the functionalized polyplex on T-cell function, we established a coculture model of activated T cells and SGC-7901 cells and demonstrated changes in secreted cytokines. Our findings highlight the potential of this class of multifunctional theranostic nanoparticles for effective targeted PD-L1-knockdown therapy and MRI diagnosis in gastric cancers.
Project description:The successful application of gene therapy relies on the development of safe and efficient delivery vectors. Cationic polymers such as cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) can condense genetic material into nanoscale particles, called polyplexes, and induce cellular uptake. With respect to this point, several aspects of the nanoscale structure of polyplexes have remained elusive because of the difficulty in visualizing the molecular arrangement of the two components with nanometer resolution. This limitation has hampered the rational design of polyplexes based on direct structural information. Here, we used super-resolution imaging to study the structure and molecular composition of individual CPP-mRNA polyplexes with nanometer accuracy. We use two-color direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM) to unveil the impact of peptide stoichiometry on polyplex structure and composition and to assess their destabilization in blood serum. Our method provides information about the size and composition of individual polyplexes, allowing the study of such properties on a single polyplex basis. Furthermore, the differences in stoichiometry readily explain the differences in cellular uptake behavior. Thus, quantitative dSTORM of polyplexes is complementary to the currently used characterization techniques for understanding the determinants of polyplex activity in vitro and inside cells.
Project description:Although branched and linear polyethylenimines (bPEIs and lPEIs) are gold standard transfectants, a systematic analysis of the effects of the preparation protocol of polyplexes and the composition of the transfection medium on their physicochemical behaviour and effectiveness in vitro have been much neglected, undermining in some way the identification of precise structure-function relationships. This work aimed to address these issues. bPEI/DNA and lPEI/DNA, prepared using two different modes of addition of reagents, gave rise to polyplexes with exactly the same chemical composition but differing in dimensions. Upon dilution in serum-free medium, the size of any kind of polyplex promptly rose over time while remained invariably stable in complete DMEM. Of note, the bigger the dimension of polyplexes (in the nano- to micrometer range), the greater their efficiency in vitro. Besides, centrifugal sedimentation of polyplexes displaying different dimensions to speed up and enhance their settling onto cells boosted transfection efficiencies. Conversely, transgene expression was significantly blunted in cells held upside-down and transfected, definitively pointing out the impact of gravitational sedimentation of polyplexes on their transfection efficiency. Overall, much more attention must be paid to the actual polyplex size that relies on the complexation conditions and the transfection medium.
Project description:The effective delivery of DNA locally could increase the applicability of gene therapy in tissue regeneration and therapeutic angiogenesis. One promising approach is through use of porous hydrogel scaffolds that incorporate and deliver DNA in the form of nanoparticles to the affected sites. While we have previously reported on caged nanoparticle encapsulation (CnE) to load DNA polyplexes within hydrogels at high concentrations without aggregation, frequent issues with limited polyplex release following CnE have been encountered. In this study, we report two alternative approaches to polyplex presentation for decreasing aggregation in porous hydrogels. The first approach reduces polyplex aggregation by utilizing polyethylene glycol modification of the gene carrier polymer polyethyleneimine (sPEG-PEI) to mitigate charge-charge interactions between polyplexes and the scaffold during gelation. The second approach electrostatically presents polyplexes on the surfaces of scaffold pores as opposed to an encapsulated presentation. The sPEG-PEI polymer formed a smaller, less toxic, and more stable polyplex that exhibited less aggregation within HA gels when compared to the traditionally used linear PEI (LPEI) polymer. Surface-coated polyplexes also resulted in a more homogenous distribution of polyplexes in hydrogels. Furthermore, sPEG-PEI polyplexes retained transfection abilities comparable to LPEI in 3D surface-coated transfections. These results demonstrate a significant improvement in scaffold-mediated gene delivery and show promise in applications to multi-gene delivery systems.A promising gene delivery approach for regenerative medicine is implanting porous hydrogel scaffolds loaded with DNA nanoparticles for delivery to affected sites. However, loading DNA polyplexes at high concentrations within hydrogels results in significant aggregation. Here, we describe two methods for decreasing aggregation of DNA polyplexes in porous gels. First, the gene carrier polymer polyethyleneimine (PEI) was modified with polyethylene glycol (sPEG-PEI) to mitigate the electrostatic interactions between polyplexes and scaffold polymer to in turn decrease aggregation. Second, polyplexes were presented along the surfaces of the pores of the hydrogel instead of being encapsulated within the gel. These methods allow for highly tunable and sustained transgene expression from scaffold-mediated gene delivery while avoiding polyplex aggregation.
Project description:The present work explores the ability of poly(1-vinylimidazole) (PVI) to complex small interfering RNA (siRNA) silencing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the in vitro efficiency of the formed complexes in A549 lung cancer cells. The polyplex formed was found to exhibit 66% complexation efficiency. The complexation was confirmed by gel retardation assays, FTIR and thermal analysis. The blank PVI polymer was not toxic to cells. The polyplex was found to exhibit excellent internalization and escaped the endosome effectively. The polyplex was more effective than free siRNA in silencing VEGF in lung cancer cells. The silencing of VEGF was quantified using Western blot and was also reflected in the depletion of HIF-1? levels in the cells treated with the polyplex. VEGF silencing by the polyplex was found to augment the cytotoxic effects of the chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil. Microarray analysis of the mRNA isolated from cells treated with free siRNA and the polyplex reveal that the VEGF silencing by the polyplex also altered the expression levels of several other genes that have been connected to the proliferation and invasion of lung cancer cells. These results indicate that the PVI complexes can be an effective agent to counter lung cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Effective gene transfection without serum deprivation is a prerequisite for successful stem cell-based gene therapy. Polyethylenimine (PEI) is an efficient nonviral gene vector, but its application has been hindered by serum sensitivity and severe cytotoxicity. METHODS: To solve this problem, a new family of lipopolyplexes was developed by coating PEI/DNA polyplexes with three serum-resistant cationic lipids, namely, lysinylated, histidylated, and arginylated cholesterol. The physical properties, transfection efficiency, cellular uptake, subcellular distribution, and cytotoxicity of the lipopolyplexes was investigated. RESULTS: The outer coat composed of lysinylated or histidylated cholesterol remarkably improved the transfection efficiency of the polyplex with a low PEI/DNA ratio of 2 in the presence of serum. The resulting lysinylated and histidylated cholesterol lipopolyplexes were even more efficient than the best performing polyplex with a high PEI/DNA ratio of 10. Results from cellular uptake and subcellular distribution studies suggest that their higher transfection efficiency may result from accelerated DNA nuclear localization. The superiority of the lipopolyplexes over the best performing polyplex was also confirmed by delivering the therapeutic gene, hVEGF(165). Equally importantly, the lipid coating removed the necessity of introducing excess free PEI chains into the transfection solution for higher efficiency, generating lipopolyplexes with no signs of cytotoxicity. CONCLUSION: Noncovalent modification of polyplexes with lysinylated and histidylated cholesterol lipids can simultaneously improve efficiency and reduce the toxicity of gene delivery under serum conditions, showing great promise for genetic modification of bone marrow stem cells.
Project description:The expression efficiency in liver following hydrodynamic delivery of in vitro transcribed mRNA was improved 2000-fold using a codon-optimized mRNA luciferase construct with flanking 3' and 5' human ?-globin untranslated regions (UTR mRNA) over an unoptimized mRNA without ?-globin UTRs. Nanoparticle UTR mRNA polyplexes were formed using a novel polyacridine polyethylene glycol (PEG) peptide, resulting in an additional 15-fold increase in expression efficiency in the liver. The combined increase in expression for UTR mRNA PEG-peptide polyplexes was 3500-fold over mRNA lacking UTRs and PEG-peptide. The expression efficiency of UTR mRNA polyplex was 10-fold greater than the expression from an equivalent 1??g dose of pGL3. Maximal expression was maintained from 4 to 24?h. Serum incubation established the unique ability of the polyacridine PEG-peptide to protect UTR mRNA polyplexes from RNase metabolism by binding to double-stranded regions. UTR mRNA PEG-peptide polyplexes are efficient nonviral vectors that circumvent the need for a nuclear uptake, representing an advancement toward the development of a targeted gene delivery system to transfect liver hepatocytes.
Project description:Combining multiple stimuli-responsive functionalities into the polymer design is an attractive approach to improve nucleic acid delivery. However, more in-depth fundamental understanding how the multiple functionalities in the polymer structures are influencing polyplex formation and stability is essential for the rational development of such delivery systems. Therefore, in this study the structure and dynamics of thermosensitive polyplexes were investigated by tracking the behavior of labeled plasmid DNA (pDNA) and polymer with time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). The successful synthesis of a heterofunctional poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) macroinitiator containing both an atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) initiator is reported. The use of this novel PEG macroinitiator allows for the controlled polymerization of cationic and thermosensitive linear triblock copolymers and labeling of the chain-end with a fluorescent dye by maleimide-thiol chemistry. The polymers consisted of a thermosensitive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM, N), hydrophilic PEG (P), and cationic poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA, D) block, further referred to as NPD. Polymer block D chain-ends were labeled with Cy3, while pDNA was labeled with FITC. The thermosensitive NPD polymers were used to prepare pDNA polyplexes, and the effect of the N/P charge ratio, temperature, and composition of the triblock copolymer on the polyplex properties were investigated, taking nonthermosensitive PD polymers as the control. FRET was observed both at 4 and 37 °C, indicating that the introduction of the thermosensitive PNIPAM block did not compromise the polyplex structure even above the polymer's cloud point. Furthermore, FRET results showed that the NPD- and PD-based polyplexes have a less dense core compared to polyplexes based on cationic homopolymers (such as PEI) as reported before. The polyplexes showed to have a dynamic character meaning that the polymer chains can exchange between the polyplex core and shell. Mobility of the polymers allow their uniform redistribution within the polyplex and this feature has been reported to be favorable in the context of pDNA release and subsequent improved transfection efficiency, compared to nondynamic formulations.