Structure-activity relationship of serotonin derived tocopherol lipids.


National Institute of Technology, Warangal 506004, Telangana, India. Electronic address: [Email]


Tocopherol-based lipids are widely used for nucleic acid delivery. Using tocopherol molecules, we designed and synthesized 5-HT functionalized lipids by tethering 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), a small molecule ligand as the head group to a natural amphiphilic molecule namely α-tocopherol (Vitamin E). This is with the aim of delivering nucleic acids specifically into cells expressing the serotonin receptors (5-hydroxytryptamine[5-HT]) which are abundant in the central nervous system. In order to achieve target recognition, we adopted an approach wherein two structurally different lipid molecules having serotonin as the head group was conjugated to tocopherol via different linkers thus generating lipids with either free -NH2 or -OH moiety. The corresponding lipids designated as Lipid A (Tocopheryl carbonate serotonin-NH2) and Lipid B (Tocopheryl 2-hydroxy propyl ammonium serotonin-OH), were formulated with co-lipids 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidyl-ethanolamine (DOPE) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-sn-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and evaluated for their ability to deliver plasmid DNA through reporter gene expression assays in vitro. Furthermore, the physicochemical characteristics and cellular interactions of the formulations were examined using serotonin-receptor enriched cells in order to distinguish the structural and functional attributes of both lipids. Cell-based gene expression studies reveal that in comparison to Lipid A, a formulation of Lipid B prepared with DOPE as the co-lipid, contributes to efficient uptake leading to significant enhancement in transfection. Specific interactions explored by molecular docking studies suggests the role of the hydroxyl moiety and the enantiospecific significance of serotonin- conjugated tocopherol lipids in recognizing these receptors thus signifying a promising lipid-based approach to target the serotonin receptors in the central nervous system.


5-Hydroxytryptamine receptors (5-HT),Gene delivery,Serotonin,Targeted delivery,Tocopherol,

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