Efficient expression of stabilized mRNA PEG-peptide polyplexes in liver

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The expression efficiency in liver following hydrodynamic delivery of in vitro transcribed mRNA was improved 2000-fold using a codon-optimized mRNA luciferase construct with flanking 3′ and 5′ human β-globin untranslated regions (UTR mRNA) over an unoptimized mRNA without β-globin UTRs. Nanoparticle UTR mRNA polyplexes were formed using a novel polyacridine polyethylene glycol (PEG) peptide, resulting in an additional 15-fold increase in expression efficiency in the liver. The combined increase in expression for UTR mRNA PEG-peptide polyplexes was 3500-fold over mRNA lacking UTRs and PEG-peptide. The expression efficiency of UTR mRNA polyplex was 10-fold greater than the expression from an equivalent 1 μg dose of pGL3. Maximal expression was maintained from 4 to 24 h. Serum incubation established the unique ability of the polyacridine PEG-peptide to protect UTR mRNA polyplexes from RNase metabolism by binding to double-stranded regions. UTR mRNA PEG-peptide polyplexes are efficient nonviral vectors that circumvent the need for a nuclear uptake, representing an advancement toward the development of a targeted gene delivery system to transfect liver hepatocytes.

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