Self-Assembled PEGylated Amphiphilic Polypeptides for Gene Transfection
60 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021
In the present study, three biodegradable block copolymers composed of a poly(ethylene glycole) block and a copolypeptide block with varying compositions of cationic L-lysine (L-Lys) and hydrophobic benzyl-L-glutamate (Bzl- L-Glu) were designed for gene delivery applications. The polypeptides were synthesized by ring opening polymerization (ROP) and after orthogonal deprotection of Boc-L-Lys side chains, the polymer exhibited an amphiphilic character. To bind or encapsulate plasmid DNA (pDNA), various formulations were investigated: Nanoprecipitation and emulsion technique using various organic solvents as well as an aqueous pH-controlled formulation method. The complex and nanoparticle (NP) formations were monitored by dynamic light scattering (DLS), and pDNA interaction was shown by gel electrophoresis and subsequent controlled release with heparin. The polypeptides were further tested for their cytotoxicity as well as biodegradability. The complexes and NPs presenting the most promising size distributions and DNA binding ability were subsequently evaluated for their transfection efficiency in HEK293T cells. The highest transfection efficiencies were obtained with an aqueous formulation of the polypeptide containing the highest L-Lys content and lowest proportion of hydrophobic, helical structures (P1* ), which is therefore a promising candidate for efficient gene delivery by biodegradable gene delivery vectors.
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