Polymer functionalized gold nanoparticles as non-viral gene delivery reagents.
Abstract: Background: In this study we investigated the ability of PEG functionalized gold nanoparticles as non-viral vectors in the transfection of different cell lines, comparing them with commercial lipoplexes. Methods: Positively charged gold nanoparticles were synthesized using PEI as reducing and stabilizer agent and its cytotoxicity reduced by its functionalization with PEG. We bound the nanoparticles to three plasmids with different sizes (4-40 kpb). The vector internalization was evaluated by confocal and electronic microscopy. Its transfection efficacy was studied by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The application of the resulting vector in gene therapy was indirectly evaluated using ganciclovir in HeLa cells transfected to express the herpes virus thymidine kinase. Results: An appropriate ratio between the nitrogen from the PEI and the phosphorous from the phosphate groups of the DNA together with a reduced size and an elevated electrokinetic potential are responsible for an increased nanoparticle internalization and enhanced protein expression when carrying plasmids of up to 40kbp (plasmid size close to the limit of the DNA carrying capacity of viral vectors). Compared to a commercial transfection reagent, an equal or even higher expression of reporter genes (on HeLa and HEK 293T) and suicide effect on HeLa cells transfected with the herpes virus thymidine kinase gene were observed when using this novel nanoparticulated vector. Conclusions: Non-viral vectors based on gold nanoparticles covalently coupled with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and Polyethylenimine (PEI) can be used as efficient transfection reagents showing expression levels same or greater than the ones obtained with commercially available lipoplexes.
- MEDICINA