bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2022‒07‒31
twelve papers selected by
the Merkel lab
Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 25. 13(1): 4282
      Lipid nanoparticles hold great potential as an effective non-viral vector for nucleic acid-based gene therapy. Plasmid DNA delivery can result in extended transgene expression compared to mRNA-based technologies, yet there is a lack of systematic investigation into lipid nanoparticle compositions for plasmid DNA delivery. Here, we report a multi-step screening platform to identify optimized plasmid DNA lipid nanoparticles for liver-targeted transgene expression. To achieve this, we analyze the role of different helper lipids and component ratios in plasmid DNA lipid nanoparticle-mediated gene delivery in vitro and in vivo. Compared to mRNA LNPs and in vivo-jetPEI/DNA nanoparticles, the identified plasmid DNA lipid nanoparticles successfully deliver transgenes and mediate prolonged expression in the liver following intravenous administration in mice. By addressing different physiological barriers in a stepwise manner, this screening platform can efficiently down select effective lipid nanoparticle candidates from a lipid nanoparticle library of over 1000 formulations. In addition, we substantially extend the duration of plasmid DNA nanoparticle-mediated transgene expression using a DNA/siRNA co-delivery approach that targets transcription factors regulating inflammatory response pathways. This lipid nanoparticle-based co-delivery strategy further highlights the unique advantages of an extended transgene expression profile using plasmid DNA delivery and offers new opportunities for DNA-based gene medicine applications.
  2. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Jun 21. pii: 1310. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      The development of nanovectors for precise gene therapy is increasingly focusing on avoiding uncontrolled inflammation while still being able to effectively act on the target sites. Herein, we explore the use of non-viral hybrid polyelectrolyte nanocomplexes (hPECs) for gene delivery, which display good transfection efficacy coupled with non-inflammatory properties. Monodisperse hPECs were produced through a layer-by-layer self-assembling of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. The resulting nanocomplexes had an inner core characterized by an EGFP-encoding plasmid DNA (pDNA) complexed with linear polyethyleneimine or protamine (PEI or PRM) stabilized with lecithin and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and an outer layer consisting of medium-molecular-weight chitosan (CH) combined with tripolyphosphate (TPP). PEI- and PRM-hPECs were able to efficiently protect the genetic cargo from nucleases and to perform a stimuli-responsive release of pDNA overtime, thus guaranteeing optimal transfection efficiency. Importantly, hPECs revealed a highly cytocompatible and a non-inflammatory profile in vitro. These results were further supported by evidence of the weak and unspecific interactions of serum proteins with both hPECs, thus confirming the antifouling properties of their outer shell. Therefore, these hPECs represent promising candidates for the development of effective, safe nanotools for gene delivery.
    Keywords:  hybrid nanovector; non-viral gene delivery; safety profile
  3. Pharm Dev Technol. 2022 Jul 26. 1-30
      A chief objective of gene transportation studies is to manipulate clinically accepted carriers that can be utilized to combat incurable diseases. Despite various strategies, efficiency and application of these vectors have been hindered, owing to different obstacles. Polyallylamine (PAA) is a synthetic water-soluble, weak base cationic polymer with different properties that could be administrated as an ideal candidate for biomedical applications such as gene delivery, drug delivery, or even tissue engineering. However, some intrinsic properties of this polymer limit its application. The two associated problems with the use of PAA in gene delivery are low transfection efficiency (because of low buffering capacity) and cytotoxic effects attributed to intense cationic character. Most of the strategies for structural modification of the PAA structure have focused on introducing hydrophobic groups to the polymeric backbone that target both cytotoxicity and transfection. In this perspective, we concentrate on PAA as a gene delivery vehicle and the existing approaches for modification of this cationic polymer to give insight to researchers for exploitation of PAA as an efficient carrier in biomedical applications.
    Keywords:  Biomedical application; Cationic polymer; Gene delivery; Polyallylamine
  4. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 824299
      Gliomas are central nervous system tumors originating from glial cells, whose incidence and mortality rise in coming years. The current treatment of gliomas is surgery combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. However, developing therapeutic resistance is one of the significant challenges. Recent research suggested that small interfering RNA (siRNA) has excellent potential as a therapeutic to silence genes that are significantly involved in the manipulation of gliomas' malignant phenotypes, including proliferation, invasion, metastasis, therapy resistance, and immune escape. However, it is challenging to deliver the naked siRNA to the action site in the cells of target tissues. Therefore, it is urgent to develop delivery strategies to transport siRNA to achieve the optimal silencing effect of the target gene. However, there is no systematic discussion about siRNAs' clinical potential and delivery strategies in gliomas. This review mainly discusses siRNAs' delivery strategies, especially nanotechnology-based delivery systems, as a potential glioma therapy. Moreover, we envisage the future orientation and challenges in translating these findings into clinical applications.
    Keywords:  delivery; glioblastoma; gliomas; nanoparticles; siRNA; therapy-resistance
  5. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Jul 16. pii: 1482. [Epub ahead of print]14(7):
      Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Tumors consist of heterogeneous cell populations that have different biological properties. While conventional cancer therapy such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery does not target cancer cells specifically, gene therapy is attracting increasing attention as an alternative capable of overcoming these limitations. With the advent of gene therapy, there is increasing interest in developing non-viral vectors for genetic material delivery in cancer therapy. Nanosystems, both organic and inorganic, are the most common non-viral vectors used in gene therapy. The most used organic vectors are polymeric and lipid-based delivery systems. These nanostructures are designed to bind and protect the genetic material, leading to high efficiency, prolonged gene expression, and low toxicity. Quality by Design (QbD) is a step-by-step approach that investigates all the factors that may affect the quality of the final product, leading to efficient pharmaceutical development. This paper aims to provide a new perspective regarding the use of the QbD approach for improving the quality of non-viral vectors for genetic material delivery and their application in cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  cancer; gene therapy; non-viral vectors; quality by design
  6. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2022 Jul 30.
      The emergence of safe and effective mRNA platform-based COVID-19 vaccines from the recent pandemic has changed the face of vaccine development. Compared with conventional technologies used historically, mRNA-based vaccines offer a rapid flexible and robust approach to preventing disease caused by transient viral strains such as SAR2-CoV-2 variants of concern and seasonal influenza. Adaptations in the formulation of the mRNA delivery systems such as with lipid nanoparticle delivery (LNP) used in mRNA-1273 and BNT16b2b have enabled this technology to flourish under the urgent collective response and collaborative regulatory understanding derived from COVID-19 vaccine development. The application of mRNA-based therapeutics in other areas holds potential promise including combination vaccines that might deliver protections against multiple infectious diseases. Future studies and further advances in mRNA-based technologies will provide insight into the clinical efficacy and real-world effectiveness of vaccines as well as provisions with respect to the impact of reactogenicity profiles. Overall, the success of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines has helped unlock a platform likely to result in many more candidate vaccines entering clinical evaluation to address the unmet medical needs of other diseases including viral respiratory diseases, herpesviruses, and historically challenging vaccine targets such as HIV.
    Keywords:  Clinical development; Combinations; Regulatory; Vaccines; mRNA
  7. Nano Lett. 2022 Jul 28.
      DNA-assembled multiaptamer systems have been demonstrated to significantly promote the aptamer capacity of binding cell-surface-expressed proteins. However, how to conveniently harness them for efficient transmembrane delivery of targets remains a challenge. Toward this goal, here we engineer a G-quadruplex-proximized aptamer (G4PA) system in which a DNA aptamer specific for transferrin receptor (TfR) is guided by a bimolecular G4 and assembles into a dimerized proximity form that well matches homodimeric TfR highly expressed on the cancer cell surface. This system displays a higher capacity for targeting cell-surface TfR than the monomeric aptamer and super transmembrane transportation of nucleic acid cargoes, which is comparable to that of conventional liposome transfection but overcomes the lack of targeting ability of the latter. The G4PA system is then applied to the targeted delivery of siRNA for PLK1 gene silencing in positive cells rather than negative controls, showing great promise for use in precise anticancer therapy.
    Keywords:  G-quadruplex; aptamer; gene silencing; targeted drug delivery; transferrin receptor (TfR)
  8. Biomolecules. 2022 Jul 22. pii: 1012. [Epub ahead of print]12(8):
      In this work, we performed a methodological comparative analysis to synthesize polyethyleneimine (PEI) nanoparticles using (i) conventional nanoprecipitation (NP), (ii) electrospraying (ES), and (iii) coaxial electrospraying (CA). The nanoparticles transported antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), either encapsulated (CA nanocomplexes) or electrostatically bound externally (NP and ES nanocomplexes). After synthesis, the PEI/ASO nanoconjugates were functionalized with a muscle-specific RNA aptamer. Using this combinatorial formulation methodology, we obtained nanocomplexes that were further used as nanocarriers for the delivery of RNA therapeutics (ASO), specifically into muscle cells. In particular, we performed a detailed confocal microscopy-based comparative study to analyze the overall transfection efficiency, the cell-to-cell homogeneity, and the mean fluorescence intensity per cell of micron-sized domains enriched with the nanocomplexes. Furthermore, using high-magnification electron microscopy, we were able to describe, in detail, the ultrastructural basis of the cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of nanocomplexes by the clathrin-independent endocytic pathway. Our results are a clear demonstration that coaxial electrospraying is a promising methodology for the synthesis of therapeutic nanoparticle-based carriers. Some of the principal features that the nanoparticles synthesized by coaxial electrospraying exhibit are efficient RNA-based drug encapsulation, increased nanoparticle surface availability for aptamer functionalization, a high transfection efficiency, and hyperactivation of the endocytosis and early/late endosome route as the main intracellular uptake mechanism.
    Keywords:  Nusinersen; RNA-therapeutics; aptamers; coaxial electrospraying; muscle-specific therapy; nanoparticle; polyethylenimine; spinal muscular atrophy
  9. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2022 Jul 27.
      Transfection of nucleic acid molecules into mammalian cells can be facilitated using viral vectors, electroporation, or biocompatible cationic materials. However, safety issues and the requirement of specialized equipment limits the use of viral vectors and physical methods of transfection like electroporation and microinjection, respectively. Biocompatible cationic lipids and polymers like branched-polyethyleneimine (bPEI) have a wide transfection range and are user friendly in most applications. However, bPEI exhibits low transfection efficiency in most cell types. In the present work, we have crosslinked the hexanoyl group to bPEI using anhydride chemistry to enhance its efficiency as a transfection reagent. The efficient association of hexanoyl group to bPEI was assessed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and other Physico-chemical methods. Hexanoyl modified bPEI (FA6-bPEI) was found to exhibit significantly enhanced transfection efficiency in both cell lines and cultured primary cells, as compared to native bPEI and the commercially available transfection reagent lipofactamine 3000. Furthermore, our in-vitro studies indicated that FA6-bPEI can be used for robust transfection for increased production of therapeutic proteins in a cell culture based system. These results suggested that hexanoyl modified bPEI can serve as an efficient transfection reagent for studies on hard-to-transfect cells and enhanced production of therapeutic proteins in-vitro. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Branched Polyethyleneimine; Hexanoic anhydride; nucleic acid; therapeutic protein; transfection
  10. Biomater Sci. 2022 Jul 26.
      The aging population contributes to an increase in the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Due to the progressive nature of these diseases and an incomplete understanding of their pathophysiology, current drugs are inefficient, with a limited efficacy and major side effects. In this study, CRISPR-Cas9 RNA-proteins (RNP) composed of a Cas9 nuclease and single-guide RNA were delivered with a non-viral targeted delivery system to rescue the PD-associated phenotype in neuronal cells. Here, we fused the cell-penetrating amphipathic peptide, PepFect14 (PF14), with a short fragment of the rabies virus glycoprotein (C2) previously shown to have an affinity towards nicotinic acetylcholine receptors expressed on neuronal cells and on the blood-brain barrier. The resultant peptide, C2-PF14, was used to complex with and deliver RNPs to neuronal cells. We observed that RNP/C2-PF14 complexes formed nanosized, monodispersed, and nontoxic nanoparticles that led to a specific delivery into neuronal cells. α-Synuclein (α-syn) plays a major role in the pathology of PD and is considered to be a target for therapy. We demonstrated that CRISPR/Cas9 RNP delivered by C2-PF14 achieved α-syn gene (SNCA) editing in neuronal cells as determined by T7EI assay and western blotting. Furthermore, RNP/C2-PF14 relieved PD-associated toxicity in neuronal cells in vitro. This is a proof-of-concept towards simple and safe targeted genome-editing for treating PD and other neurological disorders.
  11. Curr Pharm Des. 2022 Jul 27.
      The importance of siRNA in nano drug delivery systems to target important pulmonary disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, and others is reviewed in this perspective. The great majority of lung illnesses are caused by protein misfolding. As a result, siRNA-based therapies are increasingly being used to target the gene. Given the difficulties of delivering bare siRNA, siRNA protection may ensure its efficacy in gene therapy. These issues could be solved with a nano-based siRNA delivery device. In this context, a siRNA-based nanocarrier for major pulmonary disorders has been explored.
    Keywords:  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); lung; nano; pulmonary; siRNA; targeting
  12. J Control Release. 2022 Jul 26. pii: S0168-3659(22)00446-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Gliomas are the deadliest of all primary brain tumors, and they constitute a serious global health problem. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are gene expression regulators associated with glioma pathogenesis. Thus, miRNAs represent potential therapeutic agents for treating gliomas. However, miRNAs have not been established as part of the regular clinical armamentarium. This systemic review evaluates current molecular and pre-clinical studies with the aim of defining the most appealing supramolecular platform for administering therapeutic miRNA to patients with gliomas. An integrated analysis suggested that cationic lipid nanoparticles, functionalized with octa-arginine peptides, represent a potentially specific, practical, non-invasive intervention for treating gliomas. This supramolecular platform allows loading both hydrophilic (miRNA) and hydrophobic (anti-tumor drugs, like temozolomide) molecules. This systemic review is the first to describe miRNA delivery systems targeted to gliomas that integrate several types of molecules as active ingredients. Further experimental validation is warranted to confirm the practical value of miRNA delivery systems.
    Keywords:  Drug delivery system; Glioma; MicroRNAs; Molecular targeted therapy; Translational medicine