Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acc Chem Res. 2012 Jul 17;45(7):1005-13. doi: 10.1021/ar2002232. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Polymers for siRNA delivery: inspired by viruses to be targeted, dynamic, and precise.

Author information

  • 1Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Center for System-Based Drug Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Germany. ernst.wagner@cup.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

Synthetic small interfering RNA (siRNA) presents an exciting novel medical opportunity. Although researchers agree that siRNA could have a great therapeutic impact, the required extracellular and intracellular delivery of these molecules into the disease-associated target cells presents the primary roadblock for the broader translation of these molecules into medicines. Thus, the design of adequate delivery technologies has utmost importance. Viruses are natural masterpieces of nucleic acid delivery and present chemists and drug delivery experts with a template for the design of artificial carriers for synthetic nucleic acids such as siRNA. They have been developed into gene vectors and have provided convincing successes in gene therapy. Optimized by biological evolution, viruses are programmed to be dynamic and bioresponsive as they enter living cells, and they carry out their functions in a precisely defined sequence. However, because they are synthesized within living cells and with naturally available nucleotides and amino acids, the chemistry of viruses is limited. With the use of diverse synthetic molecules and macromolecules, chemists can provide delivery solutions beyond the scope of the natural evolution of viruses. This Account describes the design and synthesis of "synthetic siRNA viruses." These structures contain elements that mimic the delivery functions of viral particles and surface domains that shield against undesired biological interactions and enable specific host cell receptor binding through the presentation of multiple targeting ligands. For example, cationic polymers can reversibly package one or more siRNA molecules into nanoparticle cores to protect them against a degradative bioenvironment. After internalization by receptor-mediated endocytosis into the acidifying endosomes of cells, synthetic siRNA can escape from these vesicles through the activation of membrane-disruption domains as viruses do and reach the cytoplasm, the location of RNA interference. This multistep task presents an attractive challenge for chemists. Similar to the design of prodrugs, the functional domains of these systems have to be activated in a dynamic mode, triggered by conformational changes or bond cleavages in the relevant microenvironment such as the acidic endosome or disulfide-reducing cytoplasm. These chemical analogues of viral domains are often synthetically simpler and more easily accessible molecules than viral proteins. Their precise assembly into multifunctional macromolecular and supramolecular structures is facilitated by improved analytical techniques, precise orthogonal conjugation chemistries, and sequence-defined polymer syntheses. The chemical evolution of microdomains using chemical libraries and macromolecular and supramolecular evolution could provide key strategies for optimizing siRNA carriers to selected medical indications.

PMID:
22191535
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Chemical Society
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk