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Chemically defined polyethylene glycol siRNA conjugates with enhanced gene silencing effect

By Zuzana Gaziova, Volker Baumann, Anna-Maria Winkler and Johannes Winkler


AbstractThe therapeutic application of siRNA suffers from poor bioavailability caused by rapid degradation and elimination. The covalent attachment of PEG is a universal concept to increase molecular size and enhance the pharmacokinetic properties of biomacromolecules. We devised a facile approach for attachment of PEG molecules with a defined molecular weight, and successful purification of the resulting conjugates. We directly conjugated structurally defined PEG chains with twelve ethylene glycol units to the 3′-terminal hydroxyl group of both sense and antisense strands via an aminoalkyl linker. The conjugates were easily purified by HPLC and successful PEGylation and molecule integrity were confirmed by ESI-MS. The evaluation of in vitro gene knockdown of two different targets in MCF-7 breast cancer cells showed stable pharmacologic activity when combined with a standard transfection reagent. Sense strand PEGylation even increased the silencing potency of a CRCX4-siRNA which had modest activity in its wild-type form. The results indicate that PEG chains at the 3′-terminus of both strands of siRNA are well tolerated by the RNAi effector. The attachment of short, chemically defined PEG chains is a feasible approach to improve the pharmacokinetic properties of siRNA, and can be combined with other targeted and untargeted delivery vehicles

Publisher: The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.bmc.2014.02.004
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