Macromolecular bioscience

A Low Protein Binding Cationic Poly(2-oxazoline) as Non-Viral Vector.

PMID 25846127


Developing safe and efficient non-viral gene delivery systems remains a major challenge. We present a new cationic poly(2-oxazoline) (CPOx) block copolymer for gene therapy that was synthesized by sequential polymerization of non-ionic 2-methyl-2-oxazoline and a new 2-oxazoline monomer, 2-(N-methyl, N-Boc-amino)-methyl-2-oxazoline, followed by deprotection of the pendant secondary amine groups. Upon mixing with plasmid DNA (pDNA), CPOx forms small (diameter ≈80 nm) and narrowly dispersed polyplexes (PDI <0.2), which are stable upon dilution in saline and against thermal challenge. These polyplexes exhibited low plasma protein binding and very low cytotoxicity in vitro compared to the polyplexes of pDNA and poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(L-lysine) (PEG-b-PLL). CPOx/pDNA polyplexes at N/P = 5 bound considerably less plasma protein compared to polyplexes of PEG-b-PLL at the same N/P ratio. This is a unique aspect of the developed polyplexes emphasizing their potential for systemic delivery in vivo. The transfection efficiency of the polyplexes in B16 murine melanoma cells was low after 4 h, but increased significantly for 10 h exposure time, indicative of slow internalization of polyplexes. Addition of Pluronic P85 boosted the transfection using CPOx/pDNA polyplexes considerably. The low protein binding of CPOx/pDNA polyplexes is particularly interesting for the future development of targeted gene delivery.