Solid formulation of cell-penetrating peptide nanocomplexes with siRNA and their stability in simulated gastric conditions.
ABSTRACT: 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:Numerous human genetic diseases are caused by mutations that give rise to aberrant alternative splicing. Recently, several of these debilitating disorders have been shown to be amenable for splice-correcting oligonucleotides (SCOs) that modify splicing patterns and restore the phenotype in experimental models. However, translational approaches are required to transform SCOs into usable drug products. In this study, we present a new cell-penetrating peptide, PepFect14 (PF14), which efficiently delivers SCOs to different cell models including HeLa pLuc705 and mdx mouse myotubes; a cell culture model of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD). Non-covalent PF14-SCO nanocomplexes induce splice-correction at rates higher than the commercially available lipid-based vector Lipofectamine 2000 (LF2000) and remain active in the presence of serum. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating this delivery system into solid formulations that could be suitable for several therapeutic applications. Solid dispersion technique is utilized and the formed solid formulations are as active as the freshly prepared nanocomplexes in solution even when stored at an elevated temperatures for several weeks. In contrast, LF2000 drastically loses activity after being subjected to same procedure. This shows that using PF14 is a very promising translational approach for the delivery of SCOs in different pharmaceutical forms.
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:Nanoparticulate systems have shown great promise in overcoming the considerable trafficking barriers associated with systemic nucleic acid delivery, which must be addressed to unlock the full potential of technologies such as RNAi and gene editing in vivo. In addition to mediating the cytoplasmic delivery of nucleic cargo and shielding it from nuclease degradation and immunostimulation, nucleic-acid-containing nanomaterials delivered intravenously must also be stable in the bloodstream after administration to avoid toxicity and off-target delivery. To this end, the hydrophilic molecule polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been deployed in many different nanoparticle systems to prevent aggregation and recognition by the reticuloendothelial system. However, the optimal strategy for incorporating PEG into self-assembled nucleic acid delivery systems to obtain nanoparticle stability while retaining important functions such as receptor targeting and cargo activity remains unclear. In this work, we develop substantially improved formulations of tumor-penetrating nanocomplexes (TPNs), targeted self-assembled nanoparticles formulated with peptide carriers and siRNA that have been shown to mitigate tumor burden in an orthotopic model of ovarian cancer. We specifically sought to tailor TPNs for intravenous delivery by systematically comparing formulations with three different classes of modular PEG incorporation (namely PEG graft polymers, PEG lipids, and PEGylated peptide), each synthesized using straightforward bioconjugation techniques. We found that the addition of PEG lipids or PEGylated peptide carriers led to the formation of small and stable nanoparticles, but only nanoparticles formulated with PEGylated peptide carriers retained substantial activity in a gene silencing assay. In vivo, this formulation significantly decreased accumulation in off-target organs and improved initial availability in circulation compared to results from the original non-PEGylated particles. Thus, from among a set of candidate strategies, we identified TPNs with admixed PEGylated peptide carriers as the optimal formulation for systemic administration of siRNA on the basis of their performance in a battery of physicochemical and biological assays. Moreover, this optimized formulation confers pharmacologic advantages that may enable further translational development of tumor-penetrating nanocomplexes, highlighting the preclinical value of comparing formulation strategies and the relevance of this systematic approach for the development of other self-assembled nanomaterials.
Project description:The NF-?B signaling pathway is implicated in various inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA); therefore, inhibition of this pathway has the potential to ameliorate an array of inflammatory diseases. Given that NF-?B signaling is critical for many immune cell functions, systemic blockade of this pathway may lead to detrimental side effects. siRNAs coupled with a safe and effective delivery nanoplatform may afford the specificity lacking in systemic administration of small-molecule inhibitors. Here we demonstrated that a melittin-derived cationic amphipathic peptide combined with siRNA targeting the p65 subunit of NF-?B (p5RHH-p65) noncovalently self-assemble into stable nanocomplexes that home to the inflamed joints in a murine model of RA. Specifically, administration of p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes abrogated inflammatory cytokine expression and cellular influx into the joints, protected against bone erosions, and preserved cartilage integrity. The p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes potently suppressed early inflammatory arthritis without affecting p65 expression in off-target organs or eliciting a humoral response after serial injections. These data suggest that this self-assembling, largely nontoxic platform may have broad utility for the specific delivery of siRNA to target and limit inflammatory processes for the treatment of a variety of diseases.
Project description:Lipid-siRNA assemblies are modified with photo-responsive polymers to enable spatiotemporally-controlled silencing of interleukin 1 beta (IL1?) and cadherin 11 (CDH11), two genes that are essential drivers of maladaptive responses in human aortic adventitial fibroblasts (AoAFs). These hybrid nanocomplexes address the critical challenge of locally mitigating fibrotic actions that lead to the high rates of vascular graft failures. In particular, the lipid-polymer formulations provide potent silencing of IL1? and CDH11 that is precisely modulated by a photo-release stimulus. Moreover, a dynamic modeling framework is used to design a multi-dose siRNA regimen that sustains knockdown of both genes over clinically-relevant timescales. Multi-dose suppression illuminates a cooperative role for IL1? and CDH11 in pathogenic adventitial remodeling and is directly linked to desirable functional outcomes. Specifically, myofibroblast differentiation and cellular proliferation, two of the primary hallmarks of fibrosis, are significantly attenuated by IL1? silencing. Meanwhile, the effects of CDH11 siRNA treatment on differentiation become more pronounced at higher cell densities characteristic of constrictive adventitial remodeling in vivo. Thus, this work offers a unique formulation design for photo-responsive gene suppression in human primary cells and establishes a new dosing method to satisfy the critical need for local attenuation of fibrotic responses in the adventitium surrounding vascular grafts.
Project description:Gene therapy is emerging as a valid method for the treatment of ovarian cancer, including small interfering RNA (siRNA). Although it is so powerful, few targeting efficient gene delivery systems seriously hindered the development of gene therapy. In this study, we synthesized a novel gene vector PEG-GO-PEI-FA by functionalized graphene oxide (GO), in which folic acid (FA) can specifically bind to the folate receptor (FR), which is overexpressed in ovarian cancer. Characterizations of the nanocomplexes were evaluated by dynamic light scattering (DLS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The siRNA condensation ability and stability were assessed by agarose gel electrophoresis. Cellular uptake efficiency and lysosomal escape ability in ovarian cancer cells were investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Furthermore, cellular biosafety of the system and inhibitory of the siRNA tolerability were evaluated by CCK-8 assay. The size of the PEG-GO-PEI-FA nanocomplexes was 216.1 ± 2.457?nm, exhibiting mild cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer cells. With high uptake efficiency, PEG-GO-PEI-FA can escape from the lysosome rapidly and release the gene. Moreover, PEG-GO-PEI-FA/siRNA can effectively inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells. By and large, the PEG-GO-PEI-FA/siRNA may offer a promising strategy for siRNA delivery in the treatment of FR-positive ovarian carcinoma or similar tumors.
Project description:We have designed a series of versatile lipopolyamines which are amenable to chemical modification for in vivo delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA). This report focuses on one such lipopolyamine (Staramine), its functionalized derivatives and the lipid nanocomplexes it forms with siRNA. Intravenous (i.v.) administration of Staramine/siRNA nanocomplexes modified with methoxypolyethylene glycol (mPEG) provides safe and effective delivery of siRNA and significant target gene knockdown in the lungs of normal mice, with much lower knockdown in liver, spleen, and kidney. Although siRNA delivered via Staramine is initially distributed across all these organs, the observed clearance rate from the lung tissue is considerably slower than in other tissues resulting in prolonged siRNA accumulation on the timescale of RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated transcript depletion. Complete blood count (CBC) analysis, serum chemistry analysis, and histopathology results are all consistent with minimal toxicity. An in vivo screen of mPEG modified Staramine nanocomplexes-containing siRNAs targeting lung cell-specific marker proteins reveal exclusive transfection of endothelial cells. Safe and effective delivery of siRNA to the lung with chemically versatile lipopolyamine systems provides opportunities for investigation of pulmonary cell function in vivo as well as potential treatments of pulmonary disease with RNAi-based therapeutics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human embryonic stem (hES) cells serve as an invaluable tool for research and future medicine, but their transfection often leads to unwanted side effects as the method itself may induce differentiation. On the other hand, RNA interference (RNAi)-based targeted gene silencing is a quick, cost-effective, and easy-to-perform method to address questions regarding the function of genes, especially when hypomorphic knockdowns are needed. Therefore, effective transfection method with minimal side effects is essential for applying RNAi to hES cells. Here, we report a highly promising approach for targeted gene silencing in hES cells with siRNA complexed with cell-penetrating peptide PepFect 14 (PF14). This strategy provides researchers with efficient tool for unraveling the functions of genes or addressing the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. METHODS:We present a method for delivery of siRNA into hES cells with cell-penetrating peptide PF14. Accordingly, hES cells were transfected in ROCK inhibitor containing medium for 24?h right after EDTA passaging as small cell clumps. Fluorescently labeled siRNA and siRNAs targeting OCT4 or beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) mRNA sequences were used to evaluate the efficiency of transfection and silencing. Analyses were performed at various time points by flow cytometry, RT-qPCR, and immunofluorescence microscopy. RESULTS:Effective downregulation of OCT4 in 70% of treated hES cells at protein level was achieved, along with 90% reduction at mRNA level in bulk population of cells. The applicability of this low-cost and easy-to-perform method was confirmed by inducing silencing of another target not associated with hES cell pluripotency (B2M). Furthermore, we discovered that downregulation of OCT4 induces neuroectodermal differentiation accompanied by reduced expression of B2M during early stage of this lineage. CONCLUSIONS:The results demonstrate PF14 as a promising tool for studying gene function and regulatory networks in hES cells by using RNAi.
Project description:The success of clinically relevant immunotherapies requires reversing tumor-induced immunosuppression. Here we demonstrated that linear polyethylenimine-based (PEI-based) nanoparticles encapsulating siRNA were preferentially and avidly engulfed by regulatory DCs expressing CD11c and programmed cell death 1-ligand 1 (PD-L1) at ovarian cancer locations in mice. PEI-siRNA uptake transformed these DCs from immunosuppressive cells to efficient antigen-presenting cells that activated tumor-reactive lymphocytes and exerted direct tumoricidal activity, both in vivo and in situ. PEI triggered robust and selective TLR5 activation in vitro and elicited the production of hallmark TLR5-inducible cytokines in WT mice, but not in Tlr5-/- littermates. Thus, PEI is a TLR5 agonist that, to our knowledge, was not previously recognized. In addition, PEI-complexed nontargeting siRNA oligonucleotides stimulated TLR3 and TLR7. The nonspecific activation of multiple TLRs (specifically, TLR5 and TLR7) reversed the tolerogenic phenotype of human and mouse ovarian tumor-associated DCs. In ovarian carcinoma-bearing mice, this induced T cell-mediated tumor regression and prolonged survival in a manner dependent upon myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88; i.e., independent of TLR3). Furthermore, gene-specific siRNA-PEI nanocomplexes that silenced immunosuppressive molecules on mouse tumor-associated DCs elicited discernibly superior antitumor immunity and enhanced therapeutic effects compared with nontargeting siRNA-PEI nanocomplexes. Our results demonstrate that the intrinsic TLR5 and TLR7 stimulation of siRNA-PEI nanoparticles synergizes with the gene-specific silencing activity of siRNA to transform tumor-infiltrating regulatory DCs into DCs capable of promoting therapeutic antitumor immunity.
Project description:We report on the design, development, characterization, and a preliminary cellular evaluation of a novel solid material. This material is composed of low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (LMWHA) and polyarginine (PArg), which generate aqueous ionic nanocomplexes (INC) that are then freeze-dried to create the final product. Different ratios of LMWHA/PArg were selected to elaborate INC, the size and zeta potential of which ranged from 100 to 200 nm and +25 to -43 mV, respectively. Turbidimetry and nanoparticle concentration analyses demonstrated the high capacity of the INC to interact with increasing concentrations of LMWHA, improving the yield of production of the nanostructures. Interestingly, once the selected formulations of INC were freeze-dried, only those comprising a larger excess of LMWHA could form reproducible sponge formulations, as seen with the naked eye. This optical behavior was consistent with the scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) images, which showed a tendency of the particles to agglomerate when an excess of LMWHA was present. Mechanical characterization evidenced low stiffness in the materials, attributed to the low density and high porosity. A preliminary cellular evaluation in a fibroblast cell line (RMF-EG) evidenced the concentration range where swollen formulations did not affect cell proliferation (93-464 µM) at 24, 48, or 72 h. Considering that the reproducible sponge formulations were elaborated following inexpensive and non-contaminant methods and comprised bioactive components, we postulate them with potential for biomedical purposes. Additionally, this systematic study provides important information to design reproducible porous solid materials using ionic nanocomplexes.