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Choosing an Optimal Solvent Is Crucial for Obtaining Cell-Penetrating Peptide Nanoparticles with Desired Properties and High Activity in Nucleic Acid Delivery
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Number of Authors: 112023 (English)In: Pharmaceutics, ISSN 1999-4923, E-ISSN 1999-4923, Vol. 15, no 2, article id 396Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are highly promising transfection agents that can deliver various compounds into living cells, including nucleic acids (NAs). Positively charged CPPs can form non-covalent complexes with negatively charged NAs, enabling simple and time-efficient nanoparticle preparation. However, as CPPs have substantially different chemical and physical properties, their complexation with the cargo and characteristics of the resulting nanoparticles largely depends on the properties of the surrounding environment, i.e., solution. Here, we show that the solvent used for the initial dissolving of a CPP determines the properties of the resulting CPP particles formed in an aqueous solution, including the activity and toxicity of the CPP–NA complexes. Using different biophysical methods such as dynamic light scattering (DLS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM and SEM), we show that PepFect14 (PF14), a cationic amphipathic CPP, forms spherical particles of uniform size when dissolved in organic solvents, such as ethanol and DMSO. Water-dissolved PF14, however, tends to form micelles and non-uniform aggregates. When dissolved in organic solvents, PF14 retains its α-helical conformation and biological activity in cell culture conditions without any increase in cytotoxicity. Altogether, our results indicate that by using a solvent that matches the chemical nature of the CPP, the properties of the peptide–cargo particles can be tuned in the desired way. This can be of critical importance for in vivo applications, where CPP particles that are too large, non-uniform, or prone to aggregation may induce severe consequences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 15, no 2, article id 396
Keywords [en]
cell-penetrating peptides, solvent, nanoparticle formation, nucleic acid delivery
National Category
Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-215998DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15020396ISI: 000940877200001PubMedID: 36839718Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85149152654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-215998DiVA, id: diva2:1747907
Available from: 2023-03-31 Created: 2023-03-31 Last updated: 2023-03-31Bibliographically approved

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Wärmländer, Sebastian K. T. S.Jarvet, JüriGräslund, Astrid

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