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Cationic Polymer Intercalation into the Lipid Membrane Enables Intact Polyplex DNA Escape from Endosomes for Gene Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 25.04.2016, 00:00 by Sriram Vaidyanathan, Junjie Chen, Bradford G. Orr, Mark M. Banaszak Holl
Developing improved cationic polymer–DNA polyplexes for gene delivery requires improved understanding of DNA transport from endosomes into the nucleus. Using a FRET-capable oligonucleotide molecular beacon (OMB), we monitored the transport of intact DNA to cell organelles. We observed that for effective (jetPEI) and ineffective (G5 PAMAM) vectors, the fraction of cells displaying intact OMB in the cytosol (jetPEI ≫ G5 PAMAM) quantitatively predicted the fraction expressing transgene (jetPEI ≫ G5 PAMAM). Intact OMB delivered with PAMAM and confined to endosomes could be released to the cytosol by the subsequent addition of L-PEI, with a corresponding 10-fold increase in transgene expression. These results suggest that future vector development should optimize vectors for intercalation into, and destabilization of, the endosomal membrane. Finally, the study highlights a two-step strategy in which the pDNA is loaded in cells using one vector and endosomal release is mediated by a second agent.