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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 May;1778(5):1222-36. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2007.12.010. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

Effect of the headgroup variation on the gene transfer properties of cholesterol based cationic lipids possessing ether linkage.

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Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India.


Eight cholesterol based cationic lipids differing in the headgroup have been synthesized based on the ether linkage between the cationic headgroup and the cholesterol backbone. All the lipids formed stable suspensions in water. Transfection efficacies were examined in the absence and presence of serum using their optimized liposomal (lipid:DOPE) formulations. Our results showed that the transfection activities depend on the nature of the headgroup. Lipid bearing 4-N,N'-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) as headgroup showed the maximum transfection efficacy in the presence of serum. Importantly, the optimized formulation for this cationic lipid does not require DOPE, which is being used by most commercially available formulations. Cytotoxicity studies showed that the introduction of the positive charge decreases the cell viability of the cationic lipid formulations. Gel electrophoresis and Ethidium bromide exclusion assay revealed the different DNA binding abilities of formulations depending upon the headgroup of the cholesteryl lipid.

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