bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2021‒05‒23
ten papers selected by
Benjamin Winkeljann
Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 05 18. 12(1): 2928
      Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is an effective therapeutic to regulate the expression of target genes in vitro and in vivo. Constructing a siRNA delivery system with high serum stability, especially responsive to endogenous stimuli, remains technically challenging. Herein we develop anti-degradation Y-shaped backbone-rigidified triangular DNA bricks with sticky ends (sticky-YTDBs) and tile them onto a siRNA-packaged gold nanoparticle in a programmed fashion, forming a multi-functional three-dimensional (3D) DNA shell. After aptamers are arranged on the exterior surface, a biocompatible siRNA-encapsulated core/shell nanoparticle, siRNA/Ap-CS, is achieved. SiRNAs are internally encapsulated in a 3D DNA shell and are thus protected from enzymatic degradation by the outermost layer of YTDB. The siRNAs can be released by endogenous miRNA and execute gene silencing within tumor cells, causing cell apoptosis higher than Lipo3000/siRNA formulation. In vivo treatment shows that tumor growth is completely (100%) inhibited, demonstrating unique opportunities for next-generation anticancer-drug carriers for targeted cancer therapies.
  2. J Mater Chem B. 2021 May 21.
      Endosomal escape is crucial for the delivery of nucleic acids. However, the understanding of the underlying mechanisms is still deficient. In this work, we explored the effects of lipid- and polymer-based transfection reagents on the permeability of cellular membranes through an innovative method combining a proton-sensing transistor and a cytosolic LDH leakage assay, which allows us to distinguish between modes of molecule permeation that may occur during endosomal escape. By testing the commercial reagents lipofectin and in vivo JetPEI under physiological and endosomal pH conditions, we found that both lipid- and polymer-based transfection reagents have pH-dependent pore-forming activity, with the former creating smaller pores than the latter. This versatile approach of assessing carrier-membrane interactions is expected to contribute to the development of next-generation nucleic acid delivery systems.
  3. Biomater Sci. 2021 May 18.
      There is an unmet need to develop strategies that allow site-specific delivery of short interfering RNA (siRNA) without any associated toxicity. To address this challenge, we have developed a novel siRNA delivery platform using chemically modified pluronic F108 as an amphiphilic polymer with a releasable bioactive disulfide functionality. The micelles exhibited thermoresponsive properties and showed a hydrodynamic size of ∼291 nm in DLS and ∼200-250 nm in SEM at 37 °C. The grafting of free disulfide pyridyl groups enhanced the transfection efficiency and was successfully demonstrated in human colon carcinoma (HCT116; 88%) and glioma cell lines (U87; 90%), non-cancerous human dermal fibroblast (HDF; 90%) cells as well as in mouse embryonic stem (mES; 54%) cells. To demonstrate the versatility of our modular nanocarrier design, we conjugated the MDGI receptor targeting COOP peptide on the particle surface that allowed the targeted delivery of the cargo molecules to human patent-derived primary BT-13 gliospheres. Transfection experiments with this design resulted in ∼65% silencing of STAT3 mRNA in BT-13 gliospheres, while only ∼20% of gene silencing was observed in the absence of the peptide. We believe that our delivery method solves current problems related to the targeted delivery of RNAi drugs for potential in vivo applications.
  4. Mol Ther. 2021 May 13. pii: S1525-0016(21)00256-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in humans. Despite several emerging vaccines, there remains no verifiable therapeutic targeted specifically to the virus. Here we present a highly effective siRNA therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2 infection using a novel lipid nanoparticle delivery system. Multiple small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting highly conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were screened and three candidate siRNAs emerged that effectively inhibit virus by greater than 90% either alone or in combination with one another. We simultaneously developed and screened two novel lipid nanoparticle formulations for the delivery of these candidate siRNA therapeutics to the lungs, an organ that incurs immense damage during SARS-CoV-2 infection. Encapsulation of siRNAs in these LNPs followed by in vivo injection demonstrated robust repression of virus in the lungs and a pronounced survival advantage to the treated mice. Our LNP-siRNA approaches are scalable and can be administered upon the first sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans. We suggest that an siRNA-LNP therapeutic approach could prove highly useful in treating COVID-19 disease as an adjunctive therapy to current vaccine strategies.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; Coronavirus; LNP; RNAi; SARS-CoV-2; Therapy; siRNA
  5. Nucleic Acid Ther. 2021 May 17.
      Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The development of drug resistance to commonly used chemotherapeutics in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) poses significant health risks and there is a dire need to improve patient outcomes. In this study, we report the use of RNA nanotechnology to display ligand on exosome that was loaded with small interfering RNA (siRNA) for NSCLC regression in animal trials. Cholesterol was used to anchor the ligand targeting epidermal growth factor receptor on exosomes that were loaded with siRNA to silence the antiapoptotic factor survivin. The cytosolic delivery of siRNA overcame the problem of endosome trapping, leading to potent gene knockdown, chemotherapy sensitization, and tumor regression, thus achieving a favorable IC50 of 20 nmol/kg siRNA encapsulated by exosome particles in the in vivo gene knockdown assessment.
    Keywords:  EGFR; RNA nanotechnology; aptamer; exosomes; non-small-cell lung cancer; siRNA
  6. J Pharm Anal. 2021 Apr;11(2): 174-182
      DNA-nanotechnology-based nano-architecture scaffolds based on circular strands were designed in the form of DNA-nanowires (DNA-NWs) as a polymer of DNA-triangles. Circularizing a scaffold strand (84-NT) was the critical step followed by annealing with various staple strands to make stiff DNA-triangles. Atomic force microcopy (AFM), native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), UV-analysis, MTT-assay, flow cytometry, and confocal imaging were performed to assess the formulated DNA-NWs and cisplatin (CPT) loading. The AFM and confocal microscopy images revealed a uniform shape and size distribution of the DNA-NWs, with lengths ranging from 2 to 4 μm and diameters ranging from 150 to 300 nm. One sharp band at the top of the lane (500 bp level) with the loss of electrophoretic mobility during the PAGE (native) gel analysis revealed the successful fabrication of DNA-NWs. The loading efficiency of CPT ranged from 66.85% to 97.35%. MTT and flow cytometry results showed biocompatibility of the blank DNA-NWs even at 95% concentration compared with the CPT-loaded DNA-NWs. The CPT-loaded DNA-NWs exhibited enhanced apoptosis (22%) compared to the apoptosis (7%) induced by the blank DNA-NWs. The release of CPT from the DNA-NWs was sustained at < 75% for 6 h in the presence of serum, demonstrating suitability for systemic applications. The IC50 of CPT@DNA-NWs was reduced to 12.8 nM CPT, as compared with the free CPT solution exhibiting an IC50 of 51.2 nM. Confocal imaging revealed the targetability, surface binding, and slow internalization of the DNA-NWs in the scavenger-receptor-rich cancer cell line (HepG2) compared with the control cell line.
    Keywords:  Cisplatin (CPT); DNA-nanowires (DNA-NWs); HepG2 resistant cancer cells; Scavenger receptors
  7. Asian J Pharm Sci. 2021 Mar;16(2): 236-252
      Genetic intervention via the delivery of functional genes such as plasmid DNA (pDNA) and short-interfering RNA (siRNA) offers a great way to treat many single or multiple genetic defects effectively, including mammary carcinoma. Delivery of naked therapeutic genes or siRNAs is, however, short-lived due to biological clearance by scavenging nucleases and circulating monocytes. Low cellular internalization of negatively-charged nucleic acids further causes low transfection or silencing activity. Development of safe and effectual gene vectors is therefore undeniably crucial to the success of nucleic acid delivery. Inorganic nanoparticles have attracted considerable attention in the recent years due to their high loading capacity and encapsulation activity. Here we introduce strontium salt-based nanoparticles, namely, strontium sulfate, strontium sulfite and strontium fluoride as new inorganic nanocarriers. Generated strontium salt particles were found to be nanosized with high affinity towards negatively-charged pDNA and siRNA. Degradation of the particles was seen with a drop in pH, suggesting their capacity to respond to pH change and undergo dissolution at endosomal pH to release the genetic materials. While the particles are relatively nontoxic towards the cells, siRNA-loaded SrF2 and SrSO3 particles exerted superior transgene expression and knockdown activity of MAPK and AKT, leading to inhibition of their phosphorylation to a distinctive extent in both MCF-7 and 4T1 cells. Strontium salt nanoparticles have thus emerged as a promising tool for applications in cancer gene therapy.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Gene therapy; Nanoparticles; SiRNA; Strontium
  8. J Pharm Anal. 2021 Apr;11(2): 163-173
      Drug resistance is a great challenge in cancer therapy using chemotherapeutic agents. Administration of these drugs with siRNA is an efficacious strategy in this battle. Here, the present study tried to incorporate siRNA and paclitaxel (PTX) simultaneously into a novel nanocarrier. The selectivity of carrier to target cancer tissues was optimized through conjugation of folic acid (FA) and glucose (Glu) onto its surface. The structure of nanocarrier was formed from ternary magnetic copolymers based on FeCo-polyethyleneimine (FeCo-PEI) nanoparticles and polylactic acid-polyethylene glycol (PLA-PEG) gene delivery system. Biocompatibility of FeCo-PEI-PLA-PEG-FA(NPsA), FeCo-PEI-PLA-PEG-Glu (NPsB) and FeCo-PEI-PLA-PEG-FA/Glu (NPsAB) nanoparticles and also influence of PTX-loaded nanoparticles on in vitro cytotoxicity were examined using MTT assay. Besides, siRNA-FAM internalization was investigated by fluorescence microscopy. The results showed the blank nanoparticles were significantly less cytotoxic at various concentrations. Meanwhile, siRNA-FAM/PTX encapsulated nanoparticles exhibited significant anticancer activity against MCF-7 and BT-474 cell lines. NPsAB/siRNA/PTX nanoparticles showed greater effects on MCF-7 and BT-474 cells viability than NPsA/siRNA/PTX and NPsB/siRNA/PTX. Also, they induced significantly higher anticancer effects on cancer cells compared with NPsA/siRNA/PTX and NPsB/siRNA/PTX due to their multi-targeted properties using FA and Glu. We concluded that NPsAB nanoparticles have a great potential for co-delivery of both drugs and genes for use in gene therapy and chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  Magnetic nanoparticles; Paclitaxel; Polymeric drug delivery; Targeted drug delivery; siRNA
  9. Mol Pharm. 2021 May 20.
      Pulmonary delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a promising therapeutic strategy for treating various respiratory diseases but an effective carrier for the delivery of siRNA into the cells of the lungs and a robust gene-silencing effect is still lacking. Previously, we reported that the KL4 peptide, a synthetic cationic peptide with a repeating KLLLL sequence, can mediate effective siRNA transfection in lung epithelial cells but its high hydrophobic leucine content, and hence poor water solubility, limits its application as a delivery vector. Here, we show that the covalent attachment of monodisperse poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) improves the solubility of KL4 and the uptake of its complex with siRNA into lung epithelial cells, such that very robust silencing is produced. All PEGylated KL4 peptides, with PEG length varying between 6 and 24 monomers, could bind and form nanosized complexes with siRNA, but the interaction between siRNA and peptides became weaker as the PEG chain length increased. All PEGylated KL4 peptides exhibited satisfactory siRNA transfection efficiency on three human lung epithelial cell lines, including A549 cells, Calu-3 cells, and BEAS-2B cells. The PEG12KL4 peptide, which contains 12 monomers of PEG, was optimal for siRNA delivery and also demonstrated a low risk of inflammatory response and toxicity in vivo following pulmonary administration.
    Keywords:  PEGylation; lung surfactant; monodisperse PEG; peptide; pulmonary delivery; siRNA transfection
  10. J Control Release. 2021 May 18. pii: S0168-3659(21)00237-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) are effective delivery vehicles for messenger RNA (mRNA) and have shown promise for vaccine applications. Yet there are no published reports detailing how LNP biophysical properties can impact vaccine performance. In our hands, a retrospective analysis of mRNA LNP vaccine in vivo studies revealed a relationship between LNP particle size and immunogenicity in mice using LNPs of various compositions. To further investigate this, we designed a series of studies to systematically change LNP particle size without altering lipid composition and evaluated biophysical properties and immunogenicity of the resulting LNPs. While small diameter LNPs were substantially less immunogenic in mice, all particle sizes tested yielded a robust immune response in non-human primates (NHP).
    Keywords:  Lipid; Nanoparticle; Size; Vaccine; mRNA