bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2022‒08‒21
nine papers selected by
the Merkel lab
Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. RSC Adv. 2022 Jul 21. 12(33): 21567-21573
      The amino groups in the head group of a cationic lipid play a determinative role regarding the nucleic acid delivery efficiency of the LNP formulated from lipids. Herein, we designed four types of lipid bearing different amine-containing branched head groups to investigate the influence of type and number of amines on the neural cell targeted nuclei acid delivery. Conjugation of an ethylamino group at selected positions of a lysine-based cationic lipid resulted in 4 distinct lipids with 3 (denoted N3 lipid), 4 (denoted N4 lipid), 5 (denoted N5 lipid) and 6 (denoted N6 lipid) amino groups, respectively. Comparative analysis by flow cytometry revealed that the N3 lipid had the highest nucleic acid (plasmid and siRNA) transfection efficiency to neural cell lines (BV2 cells and N2a cells). Furthermore, the N3 lipid mediated delivery of siRNA against Toll Like Receptor 4 (TLR4) into oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD)-treated BV2 cells resulted in remarkable silencing of TLR4, inducing alternative polarization (M2) of the cells. Collectively, our data suggest that the N3 lipid is a promising siRNA delivery agent in neural cells.
  2. J Control Release. 2022 Aug 10. pii: S0168-3659(22)00514-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Since the recent clinical approval of siRNA-based drugs and COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the potential of RNA therapeutics for patient healthcare has become widely accepted. Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are currently the most advanced nanocarriers for RNA packaging and delivery. Nevertheless, the intracellular delivery efficiency of state-of-the-art LNPs remains relatively low and safety- and immunogenicity concerns with synthetic lipid components persist, altogether rationalizing the exploration of alternative LNP compositions. In addition, there is an interest in exploiting LNP technology for simultaneous encapsulation of small molecule drugs and RNA in a single nanocarrier. Here, we describe how well-known tricyclic cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs) can be repurposed as both structural and functional components of lipid-based NPs for mRNA formulation, further referred to as CADosomes. We demonstrate that selected CADs, such as tricyclic antidepressants and antihistamines, self-assemble with the widely-used helper lipid DOPE to form cationic lipid vesicles for subsequent mRNA complexation and delivery, without the need for prior lipophilic derivatization. Selected CADosomes enabled efficient mRNA delivery in various in vitro cell models, including easy-to-transfect cancer cells (e.g. human cervical carcinoma HeLa cell line) as well as hard-to-transfect primary cells (e.g. primary bovine corneal epithelial cells), outperforming commercially available cationic liposomes and state-of-the-art LNPs. In addition, using the antidepressant nortriptyline as a model compound, we show that CADs can maintain their pharmacological activity upon CADosome incorporation. Furthermore, in vivo proof-of-concept was obtained, demonstrating CADosome-mediated mRNA delivery in the corneal epithelial cells of rabbit eyes, which could pave the way for future applications in ophthalmology. Based on our results, the co-formulation of CADs, helper lipids and mRNA into lipid-based nanocarriers is proposed as a versatile and straightforward approach for the rational development of drug combination therapies.
    Keywords:  Cationic amphiphilic drugs; Cellular delivery; Drug repurposing; Lipid nanoparticles; Messenger RNA; Nanomedicine; RNA therapeutics
  3. Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 15. 13(1): 4766
      In humans, lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have safely delivered therapeutic RNA to hepatocytes after systemic administration and to antigen-presenting cells after intramuscular injection. However, systemic RNA delivery to non-hepatocytes remains challenging, especially without targeting ligands such as antibodies, peptides, or aptamers. Here we report that piperazine-containing ionizable lipids (Pi-Lipids) preferentially deliver mRNA to immune cells in vivo without targeting ligands. After synthesizing and characterizing Pi-Lipids, we use high-throughput DNA barcoding to quantify how 65 chemically distinct LNPs functionally delivered mRNA (i.e., mRNA translated into functional, gene-editing protein) in 14 cell types directly in vivo. By analyzing the relationships between lipid structure and cellular targeting, we identify lipid traits that increase delivery in vivo. In addition, we characterize Pi-A10, an LNP that preferentially delivers mRNA to the liver and splenic immune cells at the clinically relevant dose of 0.3 mg/kg. These data demonstrate that high-throughput in vivo studies can identify nanoparticles with natural non-hepatocyte tropism and support the hypothesis that lipids with bioactive small-molecule motifs can deliver mRNA in vivo.
  4. Biomater Sci. 2022 Aug 16.
      In the last several years, countless developments have been made to engineer more efficient and potent mRNA lipid nanoparticle vaccines, culminating in the rapid development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. However, despite these advancements and materials approaches, there is still a lack of understanding of the resultant immunogenicity of mRNA lipid nanoparticles. Therefore, a more mechanistic, design-driven approach needs to be taken to determine which biophysical characteristics, especially related to changes in lipid compositions, drive nanoparticle immunogenicity. Here, we synthesized a panel of six mRNA lipid nanoparticle formulations, varying the concentrations of different lipid components and systematically studied their effect on NLRP3 inflammasome activation; a key intracellular protein complex that controls various inflammatory responses. Initial experiments aimed to determine differences in nanoparticle activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes by IL-1β ELISA, which unveiled that nanoparticles with high concentrations of ionizable lipid DLin-MC3-DMA in tandem with high cationic lipid DPTAP and low cholesterol concentration induced the greatest activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. These results were further corroborated by the measurement of ASC specks indicative of NLRP3 complex assembly, as well as cleaved gasdermin-D and caspase-1 expression indicating complex activation. We also uncovered these activation profiles to be mechanistically correlated primarily with lysosomal rupturing caused by the delayed membrane disruption capabilities of ionizable lipids until the lysosomal stage, as well as by mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and calcium influx for some of the particles. Therefore, we report that the specific, combined effects of each lipid type, most notably ionizable, cationic lipids, and cholesterol, is a crucial mRNA lipid nanoparticle characteristic that varies the endo/lysosomal rupture capabilities of the formulation and activate NLRP3 inflammasomes in a lysosomal rupture dependent manner. These results provide a more concrete understanding of mRNA lipid Nanoparticle-Associated Molecular Patterns for the activation of molecular-level immune responses and provide new lipid composition design considerations for future mRNA-delivery approaches.
  5. Biomater Sci. 2022 Aug 17.
      Endosomal escape is a major obstacle for non-viral nucleic acids delivery. Here, we attached by click reaction a fusogenic peptide (L17E) onto peptide self-assembled disks (∼17 nm), which mimicked the functional subunits of the virus capsid. These peptide disks then spontaneously co-assembled with DNA to form patterned nanostructures (∼100 nm) as viral mimics. This modification did not affect the cellular uptake but enhanced endosomal escape and led to improved transfection in cell culture.
  6. Nano Lett. 2022 Aug 15.
      Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) carrying therapeutic mRNAs hold great promise in treating lung-associated diseases like viral infections, tumors, and genetic disorders. However, because of their thermodynamically unstable nature, traditional LNPs carrying mRNAs need to be stored at low temperatures, which hinders their prevalence. Herein, an efficient lung-specific mRNA delivery platform named five-element nanoparticles (FNPs) is developed in which helper-polymer poly(β-amino esters) (PBAEs) and DOTAP are used in combination. The new strategy endows FNPs with high stability by increasing the charge repulsion between nanoparticles and the binding force of the aliphatic chains within the nanoparticles. The structure-activity relationship (SAR) shows that PBAEs with E1 end-caps, higher degrees of polymerization, and longer alkyl side chains exhibit higher hit rates. Lyophilized FNP formulations can be stably stored at 4 °C for at least 6 months. Overall, a novel delivery platform with high efficiency, specificity, and stability was developed for advancing mRNA-based therapies for lung-associated diseases.
    Keywords:  five-element nanoparticles; lung-specific; lyophilization; poly(β-amino esters); stability
  7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 23. 119(34): e2207841119
      The targeted delivery of messenger RNA (mRNA) to desired organs remains a great challenge for in vivo applications of mRNA technology. For mRNA vaccines, the targeted delivery to the lymph node (LN) is predicted to reduce side effects and increase the immune response. In this study, we explored an endogenously LN-targeting lipid nanoparticle (LNP) without the modification of any active targeting ligands for developing an mRNA cancer vaccine. The LNP named 113-O12B showed increased and specific expression in the LN compared with LNP formulated with ALC-0315, a synthetic lipid used in the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty. The targeted delivery of mRNA to the LN increased the CD8+ T cell response to the encoded full-length ovalbumin (OVA) model antigen. As a result, the protective and therapeutic effect of the OVA-encoding mRNA vaccine on the OVA-antigen-bearing B16F10 melanoma model was also improved. Moreover, 113-O12B encapsulated with TRP-2 peptide (TRP2180-188)-encoding mRNA also exhibited excellent tumor inhibition, with the complete response of 40% in the regular B16F10 tumor model when combined with anti-programmed death-1 (PD-1) therapy, revealing broad application of 113-O12B from protein to peptide antigens. All the treated mice showed long-term immune memory, hindering the occurrence of tumor metastatic nodules in the lung in the rechallenging experiments that followed. The enhanced antitumor efficacy of the LN-targeting LNP system shows great potential as a universal platform for the next generation of mRNA vaccines.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; lipid nanoparticles; lymph node-targeting mRNA delivery; mRNA vaccine; melanoma
  8. Small. 2022 Aug 18. e2203448
      Engineering a versatile nanocomplex integrating effective penetration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), accurate diagnosis, and boosting therapy has always been an intractable challenge in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Herein, biomimetic nanocomplexes (TMPsM) for single intracellular transglutaminase 2 (TG2)-triggered self-assembly imaging and RNAi therapy for GBM are subtly developed. To prove the concept, transferrin receptor (TfR) aptamer-modified brain metastatic tumor cell membrane is prepared as the shell for dual BBB targeting capability and prolonged blood retention time. Upon targeting entering into GBM, hollow MnO2 is decomposed to release KKGKGQQ-tetraphenylethene (Pep-TPE) and siRNA. Owing to TG2 dependence, the non-emissive Pep-TPE would be self-aggregated to induce the emission turn-on in GBM that contain overexpressed TG2. The resulting aggregation-induced emission fluorescence imaging with a high signal-to-noise ratio can achieve the precise localization of the tumor and dynamic detection of TG2 activity, thereby allowing the GBM accurate diagnosis. Notably, the TG2 can be silenced by the released siRNA to cause cell apoptosis and increase chemotherapeutic sensitivity, ultimately realizing excellent antitumor efficacy. In vitro and in vivo results demonstrate that the as-prepared TMPsM indeed possess superior BBB penetration, precise diagnosis, and effective therapy of GBM. The proposed strategy may pioneer a new path for the theranostics of brain tumors.
    Keywords:  aggregation-induced emission (AIE) fluorescence imaging; biomimetic nanocomplexes; boosted targeting capability; glioma; siRNA delivery
  9. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2022 Aug 18. e2202644
      Polymeric nanocarriers have a broad range of clinical applications in recent years, but an inefficient delivery of polymeric nanocarriers to target tissues has always been a challenge. These results show that tuning the elasticity of hydrogel nanoparticles (HNPs) improves their delivery efficiency to tumors. Herein, a microfluidic system is constructed to evaluate cellular uptake of HNPs of different elasticity under flow conditions. It is found that soft HNPs are more efficiently taken up by cells than hard HNPs under flow conditions, owing to the greater adhesion between soft HNPs and cells. Furthermore, in vivo imaging reveals that soft HNPs have a more efficient tumor delivery than hard HNPs, and the greater targeting potential of soft HNPs is associated with both prolonged blood circulation and a high extent of cellular adhesion.
    Keywords:  cellular adhesion; cellular uptake; flow conditions; soft hydrogel nanoparticles; tumor targeting