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Factors Determining the Superior Performance of Lipid/DNA/Protammine Nanoparticles over Lipoplexes

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journal contribution
posted on 23.06.2011, 00:00 by Giulio Caracciolo, Daniela Pozzi, Anna Laura Capriotti, Carlotta Marianecci, Maria Carafa, Cristina Marchini, Maura Montani, Augusto Amici, Heinz Amenitsch, Michelle A. Digman, Enrico Gratton, Susana S. Sanchez, Aldo Laganà
The utility of using a protammine/DNA complex coated with a lipid envelope made of cationic 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium propane (DOTAP) for transfecting CHO (Chinese hamster ovary cells), HEK293 (human embryonic kidney cells), NIH 3T3 (mouse embryonal cells), and A17 (murine cancer cells) cells was examined. The widely used DOTAP/DNA lipoplex was employed as a reference. In all the tested cell lines lipid/protamine/DNA (LPD) nanoparticles were more efficient in transfecting cells than lipoplexes even though the lipid composition of the lipid envelope was the same in both devices. Physical–chemical properties were found to control the ability of nanocarriers to release DNA upon interaction with cellular membranes. LPD complexes easily release their DNA payload, while lipoplexes remain largely intact and accumulate at the cell nucleus. Collectively, these data explain why LPD nanoparticles often exhibit superior performances compared to lipoplexes in trasfecting cells and represent a promising class of nanocarriers for gene delivery.