Many human gene therapies will require cell-specific targeting. Though recombinant viruses are much more efficient than nonviral vectors, the latter, especially polymers, have the advantage of being targetable via conjugation of cell-specific ligands, including sugars, peptides, and antibodies, which can be covalently attached to the polymer using a variety of chemistries. Cyclodextrin, which forms inclusion complexes with small hydrophobic molecules, has been incorporated into a gene-delivery polymer and may provide a facile and versatile attachment site for targeting ligands. Polyethylenimine (PEI) was derivatized with β-cyclodextrin on ∼10% of the polymer's amines (termed CD-PEI). Human insulin was also derivatized with a hydrophobic palmitate group (pal-HI), which could anchor the protein to CD-PEI/DNA polyplexes. CD-PEI was essentially nontoxic to HEK293 cells at concentrations optimal for gene delivery and mediated nearly 4-fold higher gene expression than unmodified PEI, which is relatively toxic to these cells. More importantly, addition of the pal-HI to CD-PEI enhanced gene expression by more than an order of magnitude compared to unmodified PEI, either with or without the pal-HI. Because of the relative ease with which CD-binding moieties may be attached to various types of ligands, CD-PEI may be a generally useful material for testing novel cell-specific targeting compounds.
- Gene delivery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology