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Biomaterials. 2018 Sep;176:122-130. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.043. Epub 2018 May 25.

A "top-down" approach to actuate poly(amine-co-ester) terpolymers for potent and safe mRNA delivery.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA.
2
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA.
3
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.
4
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA; Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA. Electronic address: mark.saltzman@yale.edu.

Abstract

Gene delivery is known to be a complicated multi-step biological process. It has been observed that subtle differences in the structure and properties of polymeric materials used for gene delivery can lead to dramatic differences in transfection efficiency. Therefore, screening of properties is pivotal to optimizing the polymer. So far, most polymeric materials are built in a "bottom-up" manner, i.e. synthesized from monomers that allow modification of polymer composition or structural factors. With this method, we previously synthesized and screened a library of biodegradable poly(amine-co-ester) (PACE) terpolymers for optimized DNA delivery. However, it can be tedious and time consuming to synthesize a polymer library for screening, particularly when small changes of a factor need to be tested, when multiple factors are involved, and when the effects of different factors are synergistic. In the present work, we evaluate the potential of PACE to deliver mRNA. After observing that mRNA transfection efficiency was highly dependent on both end group composition and molecular weight (MW) of PACE in a synergistic manner, we developed a "top-down" process we called actuation, to simultaneously vary these two factors. Some of the actuated PACE (aPACE) materials presented superior mRNA delivery properties compared to regular PACE, with up to a 106-fold-increase in mRNA transfection efficiency in vitro. Moreover, when aPACE was used to deliver mRNA coding for erythropoietin (EPO) in vivo, it produced high levels of EPO in the blood for up to 48 h without inducing systemic toxicity. This polymer constitutes a new delivery vehicle for mRNA-based treatments that provides safe yet potent protein production.

KEYWORDS:

Erythropoitin; Gene delivery; Nanoparticle; Poly(amine-co-ester); Polyplex; mRNA

PMID:
29879653
PMCID:
PMC6038928
[Available on 2019-09-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.043

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