Polyion complex micelles with protein-modified corona for receptor-mediated delivery of oligonucleotides into cells

Serguei Vinogradov, Elena Batrakova, Shu Li, Alexander Kabanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Graft-copolymers, containing poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) chains have been proposed as carriers for delivery of phosphorothioate oligonucleotides (SODNs). Complexes of such copolymers with SODN self-assemble into particles having a core of neutralized PEI and SODN and a corona of PEG. Transferrin molecules are attached to the PEG corona using avidin/biotin construct. For this purpose, biotin moieties are covalently linked to the free ends of the PEG chains in the PEG-g-PEI copolymer. SODNs are reacted with mixtures of biotinylated and biotin-free PEG-g-PEI copolymers of various compositions to adjust the number of the biotin moieties in the complex. Resulting complexes have small size (ca. 40 nm) and do not aggregate in aqueous solutions for at least several days. To attach transferrin, they are supplemented first with avidin and then with biotin-transferrin conjugate. This increases the effective diameter of the particles to ca. 75 103 nm, depending on the composition of the complex. Cellular accumulation and fluorescence microscopy studies characterize the effects of these modifications on interaction of fluorescently labeled SODNs with KBv cell monolayers. The data suggest significant enhancement of SODN association with cells resulting from modification of the complex with transferrin. SODN complimentary to the site 546-565 of human mdr 1-mRNA was used to inhibit expression of the drug efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), in multiple drug resistant (MDR) cancer cells (KBv, MCF-7 ADR). Accumulation of a P-gp specific probe, rhodamine 123, in the cell monolayers is used to characterize the effects on P-gp efflux system following the treatment of the cells with antisense SODN or its complexes. This study suggests that antisense SODN incorporated in the complexes retain the ability to inhibit P-gp efflux system, while complexes of the randomized control SODN are inactive. Therefore, the antisense SODN is released from the complex and interacts with its intracellular target upon interaction of the complexes with the cells. Furthermore, modification of the complexes with transferrin leads to a significant increase of the effects of the antisense SODN on the P-gp efflux system in the cells. Overall, this study suggests that polyion complex micelles with protein-modified corona are promising tools for the delivery of antisense SODN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-860
Number of pages10
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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