bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2021‒08‒08
eleven papers selected by
Benjamin Winkeljann
Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Jul 12. pii: 667. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Nucleic acid molecules can be transferred into cells to alter gene expression and, thus, alleviate certain pathological conditions. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are vectors that can be used for transfecting nucleic acids as well as many other compounds. CPPs associate nucleic acids non-covalently, forming stable nanoparticles and providing efficient transfection of cells in vitro. However, in vivo, expected efficiency is achieved only in rare cases. One of the reasons for this discrepancy is the formation of protein corona around nanoparticles, once they are exposed to a biological environment, e.g., blood stream. In this study, we compared protein corona of CPP-nucleic acid nanoparticles formed in the presence of bovine, murine and human serum. We used Western blot and mass-spectrometry to identify the major constituents of protein corona forming around nanoparticles, showing that proteins involved in transport, haemostasis and complement system are its major components. We investigated physical features of nanoparticles and measured their biological efficiency in splice-correction assay. We showed that protein corona constituents might alter the fate of nanoparticles in vivo, e.g., by subjecting them to phagocytosis. We demonstrated that composition of protein corona of nanoparticles is species-specific that leads to dissimilar transfection efficiency and should be considered while developing delivery systems for nucleic acids.
    Keywords:  CPP nanoparticles; cell-penetrating peptide; nucleic acid delivery; protein corona
  2. Small. 2021 Aug 01. e2103025
      Successfully employing small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics requires the use of nanotechnology for efficient intracellular delivery. Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have enabled the approval of various nucleic acid therapeutics. A major advantage of LNPs is the interchangeability of its building blocks and RNA payload, which allow it to be a highly modular system. In addition, drug derivatization approaches can be used to synthesize lipophilic small molecule prodrugs that stably incorporate in LNPs. This provides ample opportunities to develop combination therapies by co-encapsulating multiple therapeutic agents in a single formulation. Here, it is described how the modular LNP platform is applied for combined gene silencing and chemotherapy to induce additive anticancer effects. It is shown that various lipophilic taxane prodrug derivatives and siRNA against the androgen receptor, a prostate cancer driver, can be efficiently and stably co-encapsulated in LNPs without compromising physicochemical properties or gene-silencing ability. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the combination therapy induces additive therapeutic effects in vitro. Using a double-radiolabeling approach, the pharmacokinetic properties and biodistribution of LNPs and prodrugs following systemic administration in tumor-bearing mice are quantitatively determined. These results indicate that co-encapsulating siRNA and lipophilic prodrugs into LNPs is an attractive and straightforward plug-and-play approach for combination therapy development.
    Keywords:  androgen receptor; combination treatment; lipid nanoparticles; modularity; platform technology; prodrug; prostate cancer; siRNA
  3. J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2021 Aug 04. 1-13
      RNA interference (RNAi) is a gene silencing process by inhibiting a target messenger RNA (mRNA) in the sequence-specific manner in the cell cytoplasm. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) cleaves the target mRNA. However, siRNA is not generally internalized into cells in the native state. The objective of this study is to prepare cationized gelatin nanospheres (cGNS) incorporating small interfering RNA (siRNA) and to prolong the time period of gene expression suppression. The cGNS with different degradabilities were prepared to evaluate the effect on the suppression of gene expression. There was no difference in the apparent size and zeta potential of cGNS among the amounts of glutaraldehyde (GA) added for crosslinking. The degradation of cGNS tended to become slowly with an increase of GA amounts used in preparation. After MC3T3-E1 cells were incubated with cGNS incorporating siRNA, the gene expression of cells was evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The time period of gene suppression increased with an increased amount of siRNA incorporated in cGNS. Moreover, the significant gene suppression was extended over 4 days. It is concluded that the intracellular controlled release with the cGNS enabled siRNA to prolong the time period of gene expression suppression.
    Keywords:  cationized gelatin nanospheres; gene expression suppression; intracellular controlled release; siRNA
  4. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2021 Jul 05. pii: 1756. [Epub ahead of print]11(7):
      Cationic polypeptides and cationic polymers have cell-penetrating capacities and have been used in gene transfer studies. In this study, we investigate the capability of a polymer of d-lysine (PDL), a chiral form of α-Poly-lysine, as a possible nonviral vector for releasing genetic materials to neuroblastoma cells and evaluate its stability against proteases. We tested and compared its transfection effectiveness in vitro as a vehicle for the EGFP plasmid DNA (pDNA) reporter in the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma, HeLa, and 3T3 cell lines. Using fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry, we demonstrated high transfection efficiencies based on EGFP fluorescence in SH-SY5Y cells, compared with HeLa and 3T3. Our results reveal PDL as an efficient vector for gene delivery specifically in the SH-SY5Y cell line and suggest that PDL can be used as a synthetic cell-penetrating polypeptide for gene therapy in neuroblastoma cells.
    Keywords:  3T3; CPP; HeLa; PDL; SH-SY5Y; gene therapy; neuroblastoma; nonviral vector poly-lysine
  5. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Jul 12. pii: 666. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      The fabrication of fiber mats via electrospinning has been adopted in the last decades to produce high quality scaffolds for tissue engineering. However, an effective combination of electrospinning methods with gene delivery therapies remains a challenge. In this study, we describe how the delivery of gene complexes via electrospun mats that contain different volumes of gelatin (Gel), collagen (Col), and polyethylene glycol (PEG) can affect gene expression by transfected cells. Non-viral complexes were formulated by using lipid modified polyethylenimine (PEI) polymer and plasmid DNAs (pDNA) like the reporter Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and the therapeutically relevant Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2) and electrospuned after being mixed with different volumes of Gel-Col-PEG mats and delivered to human myoblast (C2C12) and mouse osteoblast cells (MC3T3). The entrapment of GFP complexes via different homogeneous electrospun fiber mats revealed that a high fraction of collagen in the mats affected the quality of the fibers and led to reduced transfection efficiency on target cells. On the other hand, the fabrication of double-layered mats that contained collagen without complexes as a first layer and gelatin-collagen-PEG with complexes as a second layer successfully induced GFP expression and ALP activity in C2C12 cells. We conclude that this study has established the advantage of formulating multilayered bioactive collagen-based mats for gene delivery applications.
    Keywords:  Bone Morphogenetic Protein; collagen; electrospun matrices; gelatin; gene delivery; plasmid DNA
  6. Molecules. 2021 Jul 30. pii: 4626. [Epub ahead of print]26(15):
      Delivering nucleic acids into the endothelium has great potential in treating vascular diseases. However, endothelial cells, which line the vasculature, are considered as sensitive in nature and hard to transfect. Low transfection efficacies in endothelial cells limit their potential therapeutic applications. Towards improving the transfection efficiency, we made an effort to understand the internalization of lipoplexes into the cells, which is the first and most critical step in nucleic acid transfections. In this study, we demonstrated that the transient modulation of caveolae/lipid rafts mediated endocytosis with the cholesterol-sequestrating agents, nystatin, filipin III, and siRNA against Cav-1, which significantly increased the transfection properties of cationic lipid-(2-hydroxy-N-methyl-N,N-bis(2-tetradecanamidoethyl)ethanaminium chloride), namely, amide liposomes in combination with 1,2-Dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) (AD Liposomes) in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (SK-Hep1). In particular, nystatin was found to be highly effective with 2-3-fold enhanced transfection efficacy when compared with amide liposomes in combination with Cholesterol (AC), by switching lipoplex internalization predominantly through clathrin-mediated endocytosis and macropinocytosis.
    Keywords:  cationic lipids; caveolae-mediated endocytosis; clathrin-mediated endocytosis; endothelial cells; macropinocytosis; transfection
  7. Genes (Basel). 2021 Jul 20. pii: 1102. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      The transcription factor high mobility group protein A2 (HMGA2) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of some cancers including breast cancer. Polyamidoamine dendrimer generation 4 is a kind of highly branched polymeric nanoparticle with surface charge and highest density peripheral groups that allow ligands or therapeutic agents to attach it, thereby facilitating target delivery. Here, methotrexate (MTX)- modified polyamidoamine dendrimer generation 4 (G4) (G4/MTX) was generated to deliver specific small interface RNA (siRNA) for suppressing HMGA2 expression and the consequent effects on folate receptor (FR) expressing human breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231). We observed that HMGA2 siRNA was electrostatically adsorbed on the surface of the G4/MTX nanocarrier for constructing a G4/MTX-siRNA nano-complex which was verified by changing the final particle size and zeta potential. The release of MTX and siRNA from synthesized nanocomplexes was found in a time- and pH-dependent manner. We know that MTX targets FR. Interestingly, G4/MTX-siRNA demonstrates significant cellular internalization and gene silencing efficacy when compared to the control. Besides, the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay demonstrated selective cell cytotoxicity depending on the folate receptor expressing in a dose-dependent manner. The gene silencing and protein downregulation of HMGA2 by G4/MTX-siRNA was observed and could significantly induce cell apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells compared to the control group. Based on the findings, we suggest that the newly developed G4/MTX-siRNA nano-complex may be a promising strategy to increase apoptosis induction through HMGA2 suppression as a therapeutic target in human breast cancer.
    Keywords:  HMGA2 siRNA; apoptosis; breast cancer; dendrimer; methotrexate
  8. Cancer Gene Ther. 2021 Aug 02.
      Programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), as an immune checkpoint molecule, attenuates T-cell activity and induces T-cell exhaustion. Although siRNA has a great potential in cancer immunotherapy, its delivery to target cells is the main limitation of using siRNA. This study aimed to prepare a liposomal formulation as a siRNA carrier to silence PD-1 expression in T cells and investigate it's in vivo antitumor efficacy. The liposomal siRNA was prepared and characterized by size, zeta potential, and biodistribution. Following that, the uptake assay and mRNA silencing were evaluated in vitro at mRNA and protein levels. siRNA-PD-1 (siPD-1)-loaded liposome nanoparticles were injected into B16F0 tumor-bearing mice to evaluate tumor growth, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, and survival rate. Liposomal siPD-1 efficiently silenced PD-1 mRNA expression in T cells (P < 0.0001), and siPD-1-loaded liposomal nanoparticles enhanced the infiltration of T-helper 1 (Th 1) and cytotoxic T lymphocytes into the tumor tissue (P < 0.0001). Liposome-PD-1 siRNA monotherapy and PD-1 siRNA-Doxil (liposomal doxorubicin) combination therapy improved the survival significantly, compared to the control treatment (P < 0.001). Overall, these findings suggest that immunotherapy with siPD-1-loaded liposomes by enhancing T-cell-mediated antitumor immune responses could be considered as a promising strategy for the treatment of melanoma cancer.
  9. Adv Ther (Weinh). 2021 Jun;pii: 2100073. [Epub ahead of print]4(6):
      To develop stable and inhalable dry powder formulations with long shelf life, we spray dried polyplexes consisting of siRNA and a polyethylenimine based block copolymer in presence of mannitol or trehalose. We investigated the effect of inlet (T-In) and outlet (T-Out) temperature on the recovery of siRNA as well as adsorption effects within the tubing material. Choosing a low abrasion silicon tubing prevented siRNA loss due to adsorption. Mannitol and trehalose formulations preserved siRNA integrity regardless of excipient concentration and temperature at T-Out below the siRNA melting temperature. Trehalose formulations allowed full siRNA recovery whereas mannitol formulations resulted in spray drying induced losses of ~20 % siRNA and of 50-60 % polymer. Mannitol formulations showed optimal aerodynamic characteristics as confirmed by next generation impaction analysis based upon siRNA content. All spray dried formulations resulted in GFP silencing comparable or better than freshly prepared polyplexes. To test if the observed results could be transferred, formulations of siRNA and transferrin-PEI conjugates were spray dried, characterized and used to transfect primary human T cells ex vivo. Results confirmed successful silencing of the Th2 transcription factor GATA3 in primary CD4+ T cells with spray dried formulations as a potential treatment for severe asthma.
  10. J Control Release. 2021 Aug 02. pii: S0168-3659(21)00399-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Brain metastases are a most disturbing situation for breast cancer patients as there is basically no adequate treatment available. Any potential drug formulation has to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and specific to metastatic brain tumors without causing unacceptable adverse effects. Here, we developed transferrin-functionalized chimeric polymersomes carrying siRNA against polo-like kinase 1 (Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1) for treating brain metastatic MDA-MB 231 triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) xenografts in mice. To facilitate the loading of siPLK1, chimaeric polymersomes (CPs) were designed with spermine in the watery core and transferrin-binding peptide (TBP) at the surface, enabling attachment of transferrin after the siRNA loading step and thereby circumventing interference of transferrin with siRNA loading. Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1 encapsulating 3.8 wt% siRNA had a mean size of about 50 nm and a neutral zeta potential in phosphate buffer (PB). By virtue of the presence of transferrin, Tf@TBP-CPs demonstrated greatly (ca. 5-fold) enhanced internalization in MDA-MB 231 cells and transcytosis in the endothelial (bEnd.3) monolayer model in vitro as well as markedly improved accumulation in the orthotopically xenografted MDA-MB 231 tumor in the brain in vivo compared with control CPs lacking transferrin, supporting that transferrin mediates efficient BBB penetration and high specificity towards MDA-MB 231 cells. As a result, Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1 effectively inhibited tumor progression and prolonged the lifespan of the mice significantly. Selective transferrin coating appears to be a particularly facile strategy to fabricate BBB-permeable and targeted vesicles for potent RNAi therapy of brain metastatic breast cancer.
    Keywords:  Brain metastases; Polymersomes; RNAi; Targeted delivery; Transferrin
  11. ACS Omega. 2021 Jul 27. 6(29): 18728-18736
      We present extensive molecular dynamics simulations of a cationic nanoparticle and a double-stranded DNA molecule to discuss the effect of DNA flexibility on the complex formation of a cationic nanoparticle with double-stranded DNA. Martini coarse-grained models were employed to describe double-stranded DNA molecules with two different flexibilities and cationic nanoparticles with three different electric charges. As the electric charge of a cationic nanoparticle increases, the degree of DNA bending increases, eventually leading to the wrapping of DNA around the nanoparticle at high electric charges. However, a small increase in the persistence length of DNA by 10 nm requires a cationic nanoparticle with a markedly increased electric charge to bend and wrap DNA around. Thus, a more flexible DNA molecule bends and wraps around a cationic nanoparticle with an intermediate electric charge, whereas a less flexible DNA molecule binds to a nanoparticle with the same electric charge without notable bending. This work provides solid evidence that a small difference in DNA flexibility (as small as 10 nm in persistence length) has a substantial influence on the complex formation of DNA with proteins from a biological perspective and suggests that the variation of sequence-dependent DNA flexibility can be utilized in DNA nanotechnology as a new tool to manipulate the structure of DNA molecules mediated by nanoparticle binding.