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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 May 7;125(18):5316-23.

Parallel synthesis and biophysical characterization of a degradable polymer library for gene delivery.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We recently reported the parallel synthesis of 140 degradable poly(beta-amino esters) via the conjugate addition of 20 primary or secondary amine monomers to seven different diacrylate monomers. To explore possible structure/function relationships and further characterize this class of materials, we investigated the ability of each DNA-complexing polymer to overcome important cellular barriers to gene transfer. The majority of vectors were found to be uptake-limited, but complexes formed from polymers B14 and G5 displayed high levels of internalization relative to "naked" DNA (18x and 32x, respectively). Effective diameter and zeta potential measurements indicated that, in general, small particle size and positive surface charge led to higher internalization rates. Of the 10 DNA/polymer complexes with the highest uptake levels, all had effective diameters less than 250 nm and nine had positive zeta potentials. Lysosomal trafficking was investigated by measuring the pH environment of delivered DNA. Complexes prepared with polymers G5, G10, A13, B13, A14, and B14 were found to have near neutral pH measurements, suggesting that they were able to successfully avoid trafficking to acidic lysosomes. This work highlights the value of parallel synthesis and screening approaches for the discovery of new polymers for gene delivery and the elucidation of structure/function relationships for this important class of materials.

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