Sapofectosid – Ensuring non-toxic and effective DNA and RNA delivery
Different methods are being deployed for non-viral DNA/RNA delivery. However non-viral formulations for DNA/RNA-delivery are often accompanied by severe toxicity and thus low efficiency. Particular costly cell culture media are required as well. Here we introduce sapofection as a valuable enhancing method for non-viral DNA/RNA delivery. Sapofection is based on the application of DNA/RNA nanoplexes and sapofectosid, a plant derived natural transfection reagent. Sapofectosid was produced from plant raw material by chromatographic methods and characterized by tandem mass spectrometry and intensive one and two dimensional NMR-spectroscopy. Sapofectosid did enhance the transfection efficiency of different DNA- and RNA-nanoplexes formulated with liposomes, polyethylenimine (PEI) or targeted and non-targeted oligo-lysine peptides. All nanoplexes were characterized physicochemically and the influence of sapofectosid on the nanoplex integrity was determined by DNA complexation assays. The nanoplexes and sapofectosid were administered to a variety of cancer cell lines and the transfection efficiency was investigated by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Dependent on the cell line the transfection efficiencies varied from 6 to 76%. The saponin- and receptor-mediated endocytosis of nanoplexes was investigated by flow cytometry. As demonstrated by impedance based live cell imaging sapofection was non-toxic. The findings show the great potential of sapofection to be used as an effective and non-toxic transfection enhancing method.