Effect of small molecule signaling in PepFect14 transfection.
ABSTRACT: Cell-penetrating peptides can be used to deliver oligonucleotide-based cargoes into cells. Previous studies have shown that the use of small molecule drugs could be an efficient method to increase the efficacy of delivery of oligonucleotides by cell-penetrating peptides either as targeting agents that can be used in formulation with the cell-penetrating peptide and its cargo or as cell signaling modulators that facilitates the cellular uptake of the treatment. This study presents two aims. The first aim is the identification of small molecule drugs that would induce a synergic effect on the transfection of splice correcting oligonucleotides assisted by PepFect14. The second aim is to identify the mechanisms behind the effect of small molecule drugs modulation of cell-penetrating peptide assisted transfection of oligonucleotides. Through an optimized, high-throughput luciferase assay for short oligonucleotide delivery using cell-penetrating peptides, and the simultaneous addition of a small molecule drug library, we show that three small molecule drugs (MPEP, VU0357121 and Ciproxifan) induced an increase in the transfection efficacy of PepFect14 in complex with a short single-stranded oligonucleotide in HeLa pLuc705 cells. These three drugs are described in the literature to be highly specific for their respective target receptors. However, none of those receptors are expressed in our cell line, indicating a yet non-described pathway of action for these small molecules. We show that the indicated small molecules, without interfering with the particles formed by PepFect14 and the oligonucleotide, interfere via still unidentified interactions in cell signaling, leading to an up-regulation of endocytosis and a higher efficacy in the delivery of short splice correcting oligonucleotides in complex with PepFect14.
Project description:Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs, Fe<sub>3</sub>O<sub>4</sub>) 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 (Fe<sub>3</sub>O<sub>4</sub>) may open new venues for selective and efficient gene therapy.
Project description:Oligonucleotide analogs have provided novel therapeutics targeting various disorders. However, their poor cellular uptake remains a major obstacle for their clinical development. Negatively charged oligonucleotides, such as 2'-O-Methyl RNA and locked nucleic acids have in recent years been delivered successfully into cells through complex formation with cationic polymers, peptides, liposomes, or similar nanoparticle delivery systems. However, due to the lack of electrostatic interactions, this promising delivery method has been unsuccessful to date using charge-neutral oligonucleotide analogs. We show here that lipid-functionalized cell-penetrating peptides can be efficiently exploited for cellular transfection of the charge-neutral oligonucleotide analog phosphorodiamidate morpholino. The lipopeptides form complexes with splice-switching phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligonucleotide and can be delivered into clinically relevant cell lines that are otherwise difficult to transfect while retaining biological activity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show delivery through complex formation of biologically active charge-neutral oligonucleotides by cationic peptides.
Project description:Steric blocking peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligonucleotides have been used increasingly for redirecting RNA splicing particularly in therapeutic applications such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Covalent attachment of a cell-penetrating peptide helps to improve cell delivery of PNA. We have used a HeLa pLuc705 cell splicing redirection assay to develop a series of PNA internalization peptides (Pip) conjugated to an 18-mer PNA705 model oligonucleotide with higher activity compared to a PNA705 conjugate with a leading cell-penetrating peptide being developed for therapeutic use, (R-Ahx-R)(4). We show that Pip-PNA705 conjugates are internalized in HeLa cells by an energy-dependent mechanism and that the predominant pathway of cell uptake of biologically active conjugate seems to be via clathrin-dependent endocytosis. In a mouse model of DMD, serum-stabilized Pip2a or Pip2b peptides conjugated to a 20-mer PNA (PNADMD) targeting the exon 23 mutation in the dystrophin gene showed strong exon-skipping activity in differentiated mdx mouse myotubes in culture in the absence of an added transfection agent at concentrations where naked PNADMD was inactive. Injection of Pip2a-PNADMD or Pip2b-PNADMD into the tibealis anterior muscles of mdx mice resulted in approximately 3-fold higher numbers of dystrophin-positive fibres compared to naked PNADMD or (R-Ahx-R)(4)-PNADMD.
Project description:Exon-skipping antisense oligonucleotides are effective treatments for genetic diseases, yet exon-skipping activity requires that these macromolecules reach the nucleus. While cell-penetrating peptides can improve delivery, proteolytic instability often limits efficacy. It is hypothesized that the bicyclization of arginine-rich peptides would improve their stability and their ability to deliver oligonucleotides into the nucleus. Two methods were introduced for the synthesis of arginine-rich bicyclic peptides using cysteine perfluoroarylation chemistry. Then, the bicyclic peptides were covalently linked to a phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligonucleotide (PMO) and assayed for exon skipping activity. The perfluoroaryl cyclic and bicyclic peptides improved PMO activity roughly 14-fold over the unconjugated PMO. The bicyclic peptides exhibited increased proteolytic stability relative to the monocycle, demonstrating that perfluoroaryl bicyclic peptides are potent and stable delivery agents.
Project description:Oligonucleotide-based drugs have received considerable attention for their capacity to modulate gene expression very specifically and as a consequence they have found applications in the treatment of many human acquired or genetic diseases. Clinical translation has been often hampered by poor biodistribution, however. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) appear as a possibility to increase the cellular delivery of non-permeant biomolecules such as nucleic acids. This review focuses on CPP-delivery of several classes of oligonucleotides (ONs), namely antisense oligonucleotides, splice switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) and siRNAs. Two main strategies have been used to transport ONs with CPPs: covalent conjugation (which is more appropriate for charge-neutral ON analogues) and non-covalent complexation (which has been used for siRNA delivery essentially). Chemical synthesis, mechanisms of cellular internalization and various applications will be reviewed. A comprehensive coverage of the enormous amount of published data was not possible. Instead, emphasis has been put on strategies that have proven to be effective in animal models of important human diseases and on examples taken from the authors' own expertise.
Project description:Oligonucleotide-based agents have the potential to treat or cure almost any disease, and are one of the key therapeutic drug classes of the future. Bioconjugated oligonucleotides, a subset of this class, are emerging from basic research and being successfully translated to the clinic. In this Review, we first briefly describe two approaches for inhibiting specific genes using oligonucleotides-antisense DNA (ASO) and RNA interference (RNAi)-followed by a discussion on delivery to cells. We then summarize and analyze recent developments in bioconjugated oligonucleotides including those possessing GalNAc, cell penetrating peptides, ?-tocopherol, aptamers, antibodies, cholesterol, squalene, fatty acids, or nucleolipids. These novel conjugates provide a means to enhance tissue targeting, cell internalization, endosomal escape, target binding specificity, resistance to nucleases, and more. We next describe those bioconjugated oligonucleotides approved for patient use or in clinical trials. Finally, we summarize the state of the field, describe current limitations, and discuss future prospects. Bioconjugation chemistry is at the centerpiece of this therapeutic oligonucleotide revolution, and significant opportunities exist for development of new modification chemistries, for mechanistic studies at the chemical-biology interface, and for translating such agents to the clinic.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) uptake mechanism is still in need of more clarification to have a better understanding of their action in the mediation of oligonucleotide transfection. In this study, the effect on early events (1?h treatment) in transfection by PepFect14 (PF14), with or without oligonucleotide cargo on gene expression, in HeLa cells, have been investigated. The RNA expression profile was characterized by RNA sequencing and confirmed by qPCR analysis. The gene regulations were then related to the biological processes by the study of signaling pathways that showed the induction of autophagy-related genes in early transfection. A ligand library interfering with the detected intracellular pathways showed concentration-dependent effects on the transfection efficiency of splice correction oligonucleotide complexed with PepFect14, proving that the autophagy process is induced upon the uptake of complexes. Finally, the autophagy induction and colocalization with autophagosomes have been confirmed by confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. We conclude that autophagy, an inherent cellular response process, is triggered by the cellular uptake of CPP-based transfection system. This finding opens novel possibilities to use autophagy modifiers in future gene therapy.
Project description:Messenger RNA (mRNA) transfection is a developing field that has applications in research and gene therapy. Potentially, mRNA transfection can be mediated efficiently by cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) as they may be modified to target specific tissues. However, whilst CPPs are well-documented to transfect oligonucleotides and plasmids, mRNA transfection by CPPs has barely been explored. Here we report that peptides, including a truncated form of protamine and the same peptide fused to the CPP Xentry (Xentry-protamine; XP), can transfect mRNAs encoding reporter genes into human cells. Further, this transfection is enhanced by the anti-malarial chloroquine (CQ) and the toll-like receptor antagonist E6446 (6-[3-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)propoxy)-2-(4-(3-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)propoxy)phenyl]benzo[d]oxazole), with E6446 being >5-fold more potent than CQ at enhancing this transfection. Finally, E6446 facilitated the transfection by XP of mRNA encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator, the protein mutated in cystic fibrosis. As such, these findings introduce E6446 as a novel transfection enhancer and may be of practical relevance to researchers seeking to improve the mRNA transfection efficiency of their preferred CPP.
Project description:The therapeutic use of antisense and siRNA oligonucleotides has been constrained by the limited ability of these membrane-impermeable molecules to reach their intracellular sites of action. We sought to address this problem using small organic molecules to enhance the effects of oligonucleotides by modulating their intracellular trafficking and release from endosomes. A high-throughput screen of multiple small molecule libraries yielded several hits that markedly potentiated the actions of splice switching oligonucleotides in cell culture. These compounds also enhanced the effects of antisense and siRNA oligonucleotides. The hit compounds preferentially caused release of fluorescent oligonucleotides from late endosomes rather than other intracellular compartments. Studies in a transgenic mouse model indicated that these compounds could enhance the in vivo effects of a splice-switching oligonucleotide without causing significant toxicity. These observations suggest that selected small molecule enhancers may eventually be of value in oligonucleotide-based therapeutics.
Project description:A general procedure, based on a new activated alkyne linker, for the preparation of peptide-oligonucleotide conjugates (POCs) on solid support has been developed. With this linker, conjugation is effective at room temperature (RT) in millimolar concentration and submicromolar amounts. This is made possible since the use of a readily attachable activated triple bond linker enhances the Cu(I) catalyzed 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition ('click' reaction). The preferred scheme for conjugate preparation involves sequential conjugation to oligonucleotides on solid support of (i) an H-phosphonate-based aminolinker; (ii) the triple bond donor p-(N-propynoylamino)toluic acid (PATA); and (iii) azido-functionalized peptides. The method gives conversion of oligonucleotide to the POC on solid support, and only involves a single purification step after complete assembly. The synthesis is flexible and can be carried out without the need for specific automated synthesizers since it has been designed to utilize commercially available oligonucleotide and peptide derivatives on solid support or in solution. Methodology for the ready conversion of peptides into 'clickable' azidopeptides with the possibility of selecting either N-terminus or C-terminus connection also adds to the flexibility and usability of the method. Examples of synthesis of POCs include conjugates of oligonucleotides with peptides known to be membrane penetrating and nuclear localization signals.