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Hum Gene Ther. 1999 Nov 1;10(16):2657-65.

Characterization of a targeted gene carrier, lactose-polyethylene glycol-grafted poly-L-lysine and its complex with plasmid DNA.

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Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, South Korea.


The physicochemical properties and gene transfer ability of lactose-polyethylene glycol-grafted poly-L-lysine (Lac-PEG-PLL) were investigated. A dye displacement assay showed that plasmid DNA self-assembled with Lac-PEG-PLL, and condensation began at a <1:1 charge ratio of plasmid DNA to polymer. In atomic force microscopy, spontaneously assembled Lac-PEG-PLL/DNA complexes revealed a compact structure, with a size of about 100-200 nm. Circular dichroism spectra of Lac-PEG-PLL/DNA complexes revealed that the secondary structure of DNA was altered by complex formation and was similar to that of the poly-L-lysine/DNA complex. Lac-PEG-PLL was shown to protect DNA against nuclease action in a DNase I protection assay. The cytotoxicity test demonstrated that the complex composed of plasmid DNA and Lac-PEG-PLL had little influence on the viability of HepG2 cells, especially in comparison with that of poly-L-lysine/DNA complexes. In conclusion, our copolymer, Lac-PEG-PLI, formed complexes with plasmid DNA (on average, 150 nm), gave little cytotoxicity, and showed increased efficiency of gene transfer into hepatoma cells in vitro. Lactose-polyethylene glycol was grafted to poly-L-lysine to be used as a gene carrier for hepatoma cell targeting and to improve the solubility of the polyplexes. The average size of the carrier/DNA complexes was about 150 nm. The complexes also proved to have high resistance against nuclease attack and little cytotoxicity. The polymer also delivered plasmid DNA efficiently into a HepG2 cell line. Lac-PEG-PLL was more efficient than Lipofectin or galactose-PEG-PLL in transfection efficiency.

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