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Zhang, Peng; Steinborn, Benjamin; Lächelt, Ulrich; Zahler, Stefan; Wagner, Ernst (2017): Lipo-Oligomer Nanoformulations for Targeted Intracellular Protein Delivery. In: Biomacromolecules, Vol. 18, No. 8: pp. 2509-2520
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Abstract

Here, we report novel lipo-oligoaminoamide nano formulations for targeted intracellular protein delivery. Formulations are generated by first bioreversibly conjugating a sequence defined amphiphilic lipo-oligomer 728 to the cargo protein via disulfide bonds, followed by formulation of the formed 728-SS-protein conjugate with different helper lipids in various compositions. The triblock oligoaminoamide 728 contains cysteines for reversible covalent protein conjugation and cross-link-stabilization of formed nanoparticles, polyethylene glycol (PEG) for shielding, and providing a hydrophilic domain, eight cationizable succinoyl tetraethylene pentamine (Stp) repeats for endosomal buffering and escape into the cytosol, and a tetra-oleic acid block for hydrophobic stabilization. The added helper lipids are supposed to enhance serum stability of the nanoparticles and provide targeting by lipid-anchored folic acid (FA)-PEG. The optimized protein nanoparticles, including 728, DOPS, cholesterol, DMPE-PEG2000, and the FA-PEG conjugated lipid 1042, presented a high colloidal stability without significant size increase in 72 h. Using cytotoxic ribonuclease A (RNase A) as cargo protein, FA-728-DOPS-DMPE-RNase A nanoformulation could be identified with highest potency of targeted RNase A-mediated folate-receptor-positive KB carcinoma cell killing among all tested formulations, resulting in 85% KB cell killing at a low concentration of 2 mu M. These approximately 50 nm sized nanoparticles induced superior 70% KB cell killing even in the presence of 20% serum. Efficient targeted cytosolic delivery by coformulation with helper lipids was also demonstrated by FA-728-DOPS-DMPE-n1sEGFP nanoformulation using enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) as cargo. Furthermore, partial n1sEGFP was imported into the nuclei of KB cells, validating effective endosomal escape, and following nuclear transport mediated by nuclear localization signal on n1sEGFP. As demonstrated, the screening and optimization of nanoformulations with helper lipids and coformulation agents is considered to be an important and rational next step in the development of intracellular biopharmaceuticals, following initial protein conjugate synthesis.