Structural tuning of oligonucleotides for enhanced blood circulation properties of unit polyion complexes prepared from two-branched poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(l-lysine).

Affiliation

Naito M(1), Chaya H(2), Toh K(3), Kim BS(2), Hayashi K(3), Fukushima S(3), Nagata T(4), Yokota T(4), Kataoka K(5), Miyata K(6).
Author information:
(1)Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.
(2)Department of Materials Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.
(3)Innovation Center of NanoMedicine, Kawasaki Institute of Industrial Promotion, 3-25-14 Tonomachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0821, Japan.
(4)Department of Neurology and Neurological Science, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.
(5)Innovation Center of NanoMedicine, Kawasaki Institute of Industrial Promotion, 3-25-14 Tonomachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0821, Japan; Institute for Future Initiatives, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.
(6)Department of Materials Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Downsizing nanocarriers is a promising strategy for systemically targeting fibrotic cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, owing to enhanced tissue permeability. We recently developed a small oligonucleotide nanocarrier called a unit polyion complex (uPIC) using a single oligonucleotide molecule and one or two molecule(s) of two-branched poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(l-lysine) (bPEG-PLys). The uPIC is a dynamic polyion-pair equilibrated with free bPEG-PLys, and thus, is highly stabilized in the presence of excess amounts of free bPEG-PLys in the bloodstream. However, the dynamic polyion-pairing behavior of uPICs needs to be further investigated for longevity in the bloodstream, especially under lower amounts of free bPEG-PLys. Herein, the polyion-pairing behavior of uPICs was investigated by highlighting oligonucleotide stability and negative charge number. To this end, small interfering RNA (siRNA) and antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) were chemically modified to acquire nuclease resistance, and the ASO was hybridized with complementary RNA (cRNA) to form a hetero-duplex oligonucleotide (HDO) with twice the negative charges. While all oligonucleotides similarly formed sub-20 nm-sized uPICs from a single oligonucleotide molecule, the association number of bPEG-PLys (ANbPEG-PLys) in uPICs varied based on the negative charge number of oligonucleotides (N-), that is, ANbPEG-PLys = ~2 at N- = ~40 (i.e., siRNA and HDO) and ANbPEG-PLys = ~1 at N- = 20 (i.e., ASO), presumably because of the balanced charge neutralization between the oligonucleotide and bPEG-PLys with a positive charge number (N+) of ~20. Ultimately, the uPICs prepared from the chemically modified oligonucleotide with higher negative charges showed considerably longer blood retention than those from the control oligonucleotides without chemical modifications or with lower negative charges. The difference in the blood circulation properties of uPICs was more pronounced under lower amounts of free bPEG-PLys. These results demonstrate that the chemical modification and higher negative charge in oligonucleotides facilitated the polyion-pairing between the oligonucleotide and bPEG-PLys under harsh biological conditions, facilitating enhanced blood circulation of uPICs.