Targeted nanocarriers undergo endocytosis upon binding to their membrane receptors and are transported into cellular compartments such as late endosomes and lysosomes. In gene delivery the genetic material has to escape from the cellular compartments into the cytosol. The process of endosomal escape is one of the most critical steps for successful gene delivery. For this reason synthetic lipids with fusogenic properties such as 2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) are integrated into the nanocarriers. In this study we show that a natural, plant derived glycoside (SO1861) from Saponaria officinalis L. greatly improves the efficacy of lipid based as well as non-lipid based targeted nanoplexes consisting of a targeted K16 peptide with a nucleic acid binding domain and plasmid-DNA, minicircle-DNA or small interfering RNA (siRNA). By confocal live cell imaging and single cell analyses, we demonstrate that SO1861 augments the escape of the genetic cargo out of the intracellular compartments into the cytosol. Co-localisation experiments with fluorescence labelled dextran and transferrin indicate that SO1861 induces the release of the genetic cargo out of endosomes and lysosomes. However, the transduction efficacy of a lentivirus based gene delivery system was not augmented. In order to design receptor-targeted nanoplexes (LPD) with improved functional properties, SO1861 was integrated into the lipid matrix of the LPD. The SO1861 sensitized LPD (LPDS) were characterized by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy. Compared to their LPD counterparts the LPDS-nanoplexes showed a greatly improved gene delivery. As shown by differential scanning calorimetry SO1861 can be easily integrated into the lipid bilayer of glycerophospholipid model membranes. This underlines the great potential of SO1861 as a new transfection multiplier for non-viral gene delivery systems.
Weng, A., Manunta, M., Thakur, M., Gilabert-Oriol, R., Tagalakis, A., Eddaoudi, A., Munye, M. M., Vink, C. A., Wiesner, B., Eichhorst, J., Melzig, M. F., & Hart, S. L. (2015). Improved intracellular delivery of peptide- and lipid- nanoplexes by natural glycosides. Journal of Controlled Release, 206, 75-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.03.007