bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2023‒05‒28
nine papers selected by
the Merkel lab
Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. Molecules. 2023 May 12. pii: 4046. [Epub ahead of print]28(10):
      Ionizable lipid-containing lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) as a non-viral vector with good safety and potency have been considered as an ideal delivery system for gene therapy. The screening of ionizable lipid libraries with common features but diverse structures holds the promise of finding new candidates for LNPs to deliver different nucleic acid drugs such as messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Chemical strategies for the facile construction of ionizable lipid libraries with diverse structure are in high demand. Here, we report on the ionizable lipids containing the triazole moiety prepared by the copper-catalyzed alkyne-azide click reaction (CuAAC). We demonstrated that these lipids served well as the major component of LNPs, in order to encapsulate mRNA using luciferase mRNA as the model system. Thus, this study shows the potential of click chemistry in the preparation of lipid libraries for LNP assembly and mRNA delivery.
    Keywords:  click reaction; ionizable lipids; lipid nanoparticles; mRNA delivery
  2. Pharmaceutics. 2023 May 15. pii: 1502. [Epub ahead of print]15(5):
      Nucleic acid therapy can achieve lasting and even curative effects through gene augmentation, gene suppression, and genome editing. However, it is difficult for naked nucleic acid molecules to enter cells. As a result, the key to nucleic acid therapy is the introduction of nucleic acid molecules into cells. Cationic polymers are non-viral nucleic acid delivery systems with positively charged groups on their molecules that concentrate nucleic acid molecules to form nanoparticles, which help nucleic acids cross barriers to express proteins in cells or inhibit target gene expression. Cationic polymers are easy to synthesize, modify, and structurally control, making them a promising class of nucleic acid delivery systems. In this manuscript, we describe several representative cationic polymers, especially biodegradable cationic polymers, and provide an outlook on cationic polymers as nucleic acid delivery vehicles.
    Keywords:  DNA; cationic polymers; delivery; mRNA; siRNA
  3. J Mater Chem B. 2023 May 24.
      RNA, including mRNA, siRNA and miRNA, is part of a new class of patient treatments that prevent and treat several diseases. As an alternative to DNA therapy using plasmid DNA, RNA functions in the cellular cytosol, avoiding the potential risks of insertion into patient genomes. RNA drugs, including mRNA vaccines, need carrier materials for delivery into the patient's body. Several delivery carriers of mRNA, such as cationic polymers, lipoplexes, lipid-polymer nanoparticles and lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), have been investigated. For clinical applications, one of the most commonly selected types of RNA delivery carrier is LNPs, which are typically formed with (a) ionizable lipids, which bind to RNA; (b) cholesterol for stabilization; (c) phospholipids to form the LNPs; and (d) polyethylene glycol-conjugated lipids to prevent aggregation and provide stealth characteristics. Most RNA-LNP research has been devoted to achieving highly efficient RNA expression in vitro and in vivo. It is also necessary to study the extended storage of RNA-LNPs under mild conditions. One of the most efficient methods to store RNA-LNPs for a long time is to prepare freeze-dried (lyophilized) RNA-LNPs. Future research should include investigating LNP materials for the development of freeze-dried RNA-LNPs using optimal lipid components and compositions with optimal cryoprotectants. Furthermore, the development of sophisticated RNA-LNP materials for targeted transfection into specific tissues, organs or cells will be a future direction in the development RNA therapeutics. We will discuss the prospects for the development of next-generation RNA-LNP materials.
  4. ACS Macro Lett. 2023 May 23. 780-786
      As a key nonviral gene therapy vector, poly(β-amino ester) (PAE) has demonstrated great potential for clinical application after two decades of development. However, even after extensive efforts in structural optimizations, including screening chemical composition, molecular weight (MW), terminal groups, and topology, their DNA delivery efficiency still lags behind that of viral vectors. To break through this bottleneck, in this work, a thorough investigation of highly branched PAEs (HPAEs) was conducted to correlate their fundamental internal structure with their gene transfection performance. We show that an essential structural factor, branch unit distribution (BUD), plays an important role for HPAE transfection capability and that HPAEs with a more uniform distribution of branch units display better transfection efficacy. By optimizing BUD, a high-efficiency HPAE that surpasses well-known commercial reagents (e.g., Lipofectamine 3000 (Lipo3000), jetPEI, and Xfect) can be generated. This work opens an avenue for the structural control and molecular design of high-performance PAE gene delivery vectors.
  5. Vaccines (Basel). 2023 May 04. pii: 937. [Epub ahead of print]11(5):
      Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are widely used as delivery systems for mRNA vaccines. The stability and bilayer fluidity of LNPs are determined by the properties and contents of the various lipids used in the formulation system, and the delivery efficiency of LNPs largely depends on the lipid composition. For the quality control of such vaccines, here we developed and validated an HPLC-CAD method to identify and determine the contents of four lipids in an LNP-encapsulated COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to support lipid analysis for the development of new drugs and vaccines.
    Keywords:  charged aerosol detector; lipid nanoparticles; mRNA vaccine; method validation
  6. ACS Appl Bio Mater. 2023 May 23.
      Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) are widely studied for treating immune-mediated diseases, and dendritic cells (DCs) are potent APCs that uptake and present antigens (Ags). However, DCs face several challenges that hinder their clinical translation due to their inability to control Ag dosing and low abundance in peripheral blood. B cells are a potential alternative to DCs, but their poor nonspecific Ag uptake capabilities compromise controllable priming of T cells. Here, we developed phospholipid-conjugated Ags (L-Ags) and lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles (L/P-Ag NPs) as delivery platforms to expand the range of accessible APCs for use in T cell priming. These delivery platforms were evaluated using DCs, CD40-activated B cells, and resting B cells to understand the impacts of various Ag delivery mechanisms for generation of Ag-specific T cell responses. L-Ag delivery (termed depoting) of MHC class I- and II-restricted Ags successfully loaded all APC types in a tunable manner and primed both Ag-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, respectively. Incorporating L-Ags and polymer-conjugated Ags (P-Ag) into NPs can direct Ags to different uptake pathways to engineer the dynamics of presentation and shape T cell responses. DCs were capable of processing and presenting Ag delivered from both L- and P-Ag NPs, yet B cells could only utilize Ag delivered from L-Ag NPs, which led to differential cytokine secretion profiles in coculture studies. Altogether, we show that L-Ags and P-Ags can be rationally paired within a single NP to leverage distinct delivery mechanisms to access multiple Ag processing pathways in two APC types, offering a modular delivery platform for engineering Ag-specific immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  B cells; Lipid−polymer hybrid nanoparticles; T cells; antigen-specific immunity; immunotherapy; lipid conjugation; ovalbumin
  7. Bioconjug Chem. 2023 May 25.
      Nucleic acid nanocapsules (NANs) are enzyme-responsive DNA-functionalized micelles built for the controlled release of DNA-surfactant conjugates (DSCs) that present sequences with demonstrated therapeutic potential. Here, we investigate the mechanisms by which DSCs gain access to intracellular space in vitro and determine the effects of serum on the overall uptake and internalization mechanism of NANs. Using pharmacological inhibitors to selectively block certain pathways, we show, through confocal visualization of cellular distribution and flow cytometry quantification of total cellular association, that scavenger receptor-mediated, caveolae-dependent endocytosis is the major cellular uptake pathway of NANs in the presence and absence of serum. Furthermore, as NANs can be triggered to release DSCs by external stimuli such as enzymes, we sought to examine the uptake profile of particles degraded by enzymes prior to cell-based assays. We found that while scavenger receptor-mediated, caveolae-dependent endocytosis is still at play, energy-independent pathways as well as clathrin-mediated endocytosis are also involved. Overall, this study has helped to elucidate early steps in the cytosolic delivery and therapeutic activity of DSCs packaged into a micellular NAN platform while shedding light on the way in which DNA functionalized nanomaterials in general can be trafficked into cells both as nanostructures and as molecular entities. Importantly, our study also shows that the NAN design in particular is able to stabilize nucleic acids when delivered in the presence of serum, a critical step for effective therapeutic nucleic acid delivery.
  8. Pharmaceutics. 2023 May 10. pii: 1457. [Epub ahead of print]15(5):
      Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) afflicts about 2 million people worldwide, with both genetic (familial) and environmental factors contributing to its development and spread. The inadequacy of currently available therapeutic techniques, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, in addressing NSCLC is reflected in the very low survival rate of this disease. Therefore, newer approaches and combination therapy regimens are required to reverse this dismal scenario. Direct administration of inhalable nanotherapeutic agents to the cancer sites can potentially lead to optimal drug use, negligible side effects, and high therapeutic gain. Lipid-based nanoparticles are ideal agents for inhalable delivery owing to their high drug loading, ideal physical traits, sustained drug release, and biocompatibility. Drugs loaded within several lipid-based nanoformulations, such as liposomes, solid-lipid nanoparticles, lipid-based micelles, etc., have been developed as both aqueous dispersed formulations as well as dry-powder formulations for inhalable delivery in NSCLC models in vitro and in vivo. This review chronicles such developments and charts the future prospects of such nanoformulations in the treatment of NSCLC.
    Keywords:  chemotherapy; gene therapy; inhalable drug delivery; lipid micelles; liposomes; non-small-cell lung cancer; solid lipid nanoparticles
  9. Small. 2023 May 22. e2303138
      Complex coacervates are phase-separated liquid droplets composed of oppositely charged multivalent molecules. The unique material properties of the complex coacervate interior favours the sequestration of biomolecules and facilitates reactions. Recently, it is shown that coacervates can be used for direct cytosolic delivery of sequestered biomolecules in living cells. Here, it is studied that the physical properties required for complex coacervates composed of oligo-arginine and RNA to cross phospholipid bilayers and enter liposomes penetration depends on two main parameters: the difference in ζ-potential between the complex coacervates and the liposomes, and the partitioning coefficient (Kp ) of lipids into the complex coacervates. Following these guidelines, a range of complex coacervates is found that is able to penetrate the membrane of living cells, thus paving the way for further development of coacervates as delivery vehicles of therapeutic agents.
    Keywords:  complex coacervates; delivery vehicles; liposomes; partitioning coefficient