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Boosting Intracellular Delivery of Lipid Nanoparticle-Encapsulated mRNA

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posted on 24.08.2017, 11:18 by Siddharth Patel, N. Ashwanikumar, Emily Robinson, Allison DuRoss, Conroy Sun, Kerry E. Murphy-Benenato, Cosmin Mihai, Örn Almarsson, Gaurav Sahay
Intracellular delivery of mRNA holds great potential for vaccine− and therapeutic discovery and development. Despite increasing recognition of the utility of lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) for intracellular delivery of mRNA, particle engineering is hindered by insufficient understanding of endosomal escape, which is believed to be a main limiter of cytosolic availability and activity of the nucleic acid inside the cell. Using a series of CRISPR-based genetic perturbations of the lysosomal pathway, we have identified that late endosome/lysosome (LE/Ly) formation is essential for functional delivery of exogenously presented mRNA. Lysosomes provide a spatiotemporal hub to orchestrate mTOR signaling and are known to control cell proliferation, nutrient sensing, ribosomal biogenesis, and mRNA translation. Through modulation of the mTOR pathway we were able to enhance or inhibit LNP-mediated mRNA delivery. To further boost intracellular delivery of mRNA, we screened 212 bioactive lipid-like molecules that are either enriched in vesicular compartments or modulate cell signaling. Surprisingly, we have discovered that leukotriene-antagonists, clinically approved for treatment of asthma and other lung diseases, enhance intracellular mRNA delivery in vitro (over 3-fold, p < 0.005) and in vivo (over 2-fold, p < 0.005). Understanding LNP-mediated intracellular delivery will inspire the next generation of RNA therapeutics that have high potency and limited toxicity.

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