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ACS Omega. 2018 Oct 31;3(10):14144-14150. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.8b01772. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

Synthesis and Purification of Homogeneous Lipid-Based Peptide Nanocarriers by Overcoming Phospholipid Ester Hydrolysis.

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Institute for Molecular Engineering, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology/Oncology, and Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, United States.
Institute for Molecular Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, United States.


Despite the therapeutic promise of phospholipid-based nanocarriers, a major obstacle to their widespread clinical translation is a susceptibility to fatty acid ester hydrolysis, leading to lack of quality control and inconsistencies in self-assembly formulations. Using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry fragmentation in combination with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, we have demonstrated a method to detect hydrolysis of one or both of the fatty acid esters in a PEGylated phospholipid, DSPE-PEG, in conditions commonly applied during nanocarrier production. Because such carriers are increasingly being used to deliver peptide-based therapeutics, we further investigated the hydrolysis of phospholipid esters in conditions used for solid-phase peptide synthesis and high-performance liquid chromatography of peptides. We ultimately detail a synthetic strategy to reliably produce pure phospholipid-peptide bioconjugates (peptide amphiphiles), while avoiding unintended or unnoticed hydrolyzed byproducts that could lead to polymorphic nanotherapeutics with dampened therapeutic efficacy. We believe that such an approach could help standardize phospholipid-peptide-based therapeutic development, testing, and clinical translation.

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