American Chemical Society
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Dramatic Influence of the Orientation of Linker between Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Lipid Moiety in Liposomal Gene Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-09-19, 00:00 authored by Mukthavaram Rajesh, Joyeeta Sen, Marepally Srujan, Koushik Mukherjee, Bojja Sreedhar, Arabinda Chaudhuri
A number of prior studies have demonstrated that the DNA-binding and gene transfection efficacies of cationic amphiphiles crucially depend on their various structural parameters including hydrophobic chain lengths, headgroup functionalities, and the nature of the linker-functionality used in tethering the polar headgroup and hydrophobic tails. However, to date addressing the issue of linker orientation remains unexplored in liposomal gene delivery. Toward probing the influence of linker orientation in cationic lipid mediated gene delivery, we have designed and synthesized two structurally isomeric remarkably similar cationic amphiphiles 1 and 2 bearing the same hydrophobic tails and the same polar headgroups connected by the same ester linker group. The only structural difference between the cationic amphiphiles 1 and 2 is the orientation of their linker ester functionality. While lipid 1 showed high gene transfer efficacies in multiple cultured animal cells, lipid 2 was essentially transfection incompetent. Findings in both transmission electron microscopic and dynamic laser light scattering studies revealed no significant size difference between the lipoplexes of lipids 1 and 2. Findings in confocal microscopic and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments, taken together, support the notion that the remarkably higher gene transfer efficacies of lipid 1 compared to those of lipid 2 presumably originate from higher biomembrane fusogenicity of lipid 1 liposomes. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and fluorescence anisotropy studies revealed a significantly higher gel-to-liquid crystalline temperature for the lipid 2 liposomes than that for lipid 1 liposomes. Findings in the dye entrapment experiment were also consistent with the higher rigidity of lipid 2/cholesterol (1:1 mole ratio) liposomes. Thus, the higher biomembrane fusibility of lipid 1 liposomes than that of lipid 2 liposomes presumably originates from the more rigid nature of lipid 2 cationic liposomes. Taken together, the present findings demonstrate for the first time that even as minor a structural variation as linker orientation reversal in cationic amphiphiles can profoundly influence DNA-binding characteristics, membrane rigidity, membrane fusibility, cellular uptake, and consequently gene delivery efficacies of cationic liposomes.