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Acta Biomater. 2017 Sep 15;60:23-37. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.07.043. Epub 2017 Aug 1.

Exploring the role of peptides in polymer-based gene delivery.

Author information

1
School of Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China.
2
Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Husson University, Bangor, ME, USA.
3
Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, School of Life Science and Biopharmaceutics, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China.
4
School of Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China. Electronic address: ylsnowle@126.com.
5
School of Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China. Electronic address: labdingpingtian@sohu.com.

Abstract

Polymers are widely studied as non-viral gene vectors because of their strong DNA binding ability, capacity to carry large payload, flexibility of chemical modifications, low immunogenicity, and facile processes for manufacturing. However, high cytotoxicity and low transfection efficiency substantially restrict their application in clinical trials. Incorporating functional peptides is a promising approach to address these issues. Peptides demonstrate various functions in polymer-based gene delivery systems, such as targeting to specific cells, breaching membrane barriers, facilitating DNA condensation and release, and lowering cytotoxicity. In this review, we systematically summarize the role of peptides in polymer-based gene delivery, and elaborate how to rationally design polymer-peptide based gene delivery vectors.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE:

Polymers are widely studied as non-viral gene vectors, but suffer from high cytotoxicity and low transfection efficiency. Incorporating short, bioactive peptides into polymer-based gene delivery systems can address this issue. Peptides demonstrate various functions in polymer-based gene delivery systems, such as targeting to specific cells, breaching membrane barriers, facilitating DNA condensation and release, and lowering cytotoxicity. In this review, we highlight the peptides' roles in polymer-based gene delivery, and elaborate how to utilize various functional peptides to enhance the transfection efficiency of polymers. The optimized peptide-polymer vectors should be able to alter their structures and functions according to biological microenvironments and utilize inherent intracellular pathways of cells, and consequently overcome the barriers during gene delivery to enhance transfection efficiency.

KEYWORDS:

Functions; Gene delivery; Peptides; Polymers

PMID:
28778533
DOI:
10.1016/j.actbio.2017.07.043
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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