Mixich L, Boonstra E, Masuda K, Li SW, Nakashima Y, Meng F, Sakata M, Goda T, Uchida S, Cabral H.
Ionizable Polymeric Micelles with Phenylalanine Moieties Enhance Intracellular Delivery of Self-Replicating RNA for Long-Lasting Protein Expression In Vivo.
mRNA-based therapeutics are revolutionizing the landscape of medical interventions. However, the short half-life of mRNA and transient protein expression often limits its therapeutic potential, demanding high treatment doses or repeated administrations. Self-replicating RNA (RepRNA)-based treatments could offer enhanced protein production and reduce the required dosage. Here, we developed polymeric micelles based on flexible poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(glycerol) (PEG-PG) block copolymers modified with phenylalanine (Phe) moieties via biodegradable ester bonds for the efficient delivery of RepRNA. These polymers successfully encapsulated RepRNA into sub-100 nm micelles assisted by the hydrophobicity of the Phe moieties and their ability to π-π stack with the bases in RepRNA. The micelles made from Phe-modified PEG-PG (PEG-PG(Phe)) effectively maintained the integrity of the loaded RepRNA in RNase-rich serum conditions. Once taken up by cells, the micelles triggered a pH-responsive membrane disruption, promoted by the strong protonation of the amino groups at endosomal pH, thereby delivering the RepRNA to the cytosol. The system induced strong protein expression in vitro and outperformed commercial transfecting reagents in vivo, where it resulted in enhanced and long-lasting protein expression.
|Human and Animal Cells