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Macromol Biosci. 2019 Aug 20:e1900152. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201900152. [Epub ahead of print]

Multifunctional Cationic PeptoStars as siRNA Carrier: Influence of Architecture and Histidine Modification on Knockdown Potential.

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Institute of Organic Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Duesbergweg 10-14, 55128, Mainz, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, 55128, Mainz, Germany.
Department of Pharmacy and Center for NanoScience (CeNS), LMU Munich, Butenandtstraße 5-13, 81377, Munich, Germany.


RNA interference provides enormous potential for the treatment of several diseases, including cancer. Nevertheless, successful therapies based on siRNA require overcoming various challenges, such as poor pharmacokinetic characteristics of the small RNA molecule and inefficient cytosolic accumulation. In this respect, the development of functional siRNA carrier systems is a major task in biomedical research. To provide such a desired system, the synthesis of 3-arm and 6-arm PeptoStars is aimed for. The different branched polypept(o)idic architectures share a stealth-like polysarcosine corona for efficient shielding and a multifunctional polylysine core, which can be independently varied in size and functionality for siRNA complexation-, transport and intra cellular release. The special feature of star-like polypept(o)ides is in their uniform small size (<20 nm) and a core-shell structure, which implies a high stability and stealth-like properties and thus, they may combine long circulation times and a deep penetration of cancerous tissue. Initial toxicity and complement studies demonstrate well tolerated cationic PeptoStars with high complexation capability toward siRNA (N/P ratio up to 3:1), which can lead to potent RNAi for optimized systems. Here, the synthetic development of 3-arm and 6-arm polypept(o)idic star polymers, their modification with endosomolytic moieties, and first in vitro insights on RNA interference are reported on.


polypept(o)ide; polypeptide; polysarcosine; siRNA; star polymers


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