Codelivery of DNA and siRNA via Arginine-Rich PEI-Based Polyplexes

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Publication Date

Winter 1-15-2015


In this study, we formulated polyplexes with different compositions for codelivery of DNA and small-interfering RNA (siRNA). Since DNA and siRNA have distinctive and complementary morphological characteristics (DNA is long and winding and siRNA is short and rigid), we hypothesized that their codelivery using polyplex would enhance each other’s transfection. To test this hypothesis, cationic polymer branched polyethylenimine (bPEI) as a standard transfecting agent and its derivative arginine-rich oligopeptide-grafted bPEI modified with polyethylene glycol (P(SiDAAr)5P3), synthesized in our laboratory, were used as carriers for transfection. Polyplexes at different nucleic acid to polymer weight ratios were characterized for transfection in breast cancer sensitive (MCF-7) and resistant (MCF-7/Adr) cell lines. Gene silencing effect of polyplexes was determined in MDA-MB-231-luc-D3H2LN cell line. The results demonstrated that the polyplexes formed with derivative P(SiDAAr)5P3 show significantly lower toxicity compared to polyplexes formed using bPEI. Further, codelivery resulted in 20-fold higher DNA transfection and 2-fold higher siRNA transfection as compared to the respective single nucleotide delivery. DNA transfection was ∼100-fold lower in resistant MCF-7/Adr cells than in sensitive MCF-7 cells. Confocal imaging and flow cytometry data demonstrated that enhanced transfection does not solely depend on DNA’s cellular uptake, suggesting that other mechanisms contribute to increased transfection. DNA-co-siRNA delivery could be a promising therapeutic approach to achieve synergistic effects because it can simultaneously target and interfere with multiple regulatory levels in a cell to halt and reverse disease progression.

Publication Title

Molecular Pharmaceutics





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