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Synthesis and Characterization of a Head−Tail Type Polycation Block Copolymer as a Nonviral Gene Vector

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journal contribution
posted on 18.01.2006, 00:00 by Atsushi Harada, Masanori Kawamura, Takashi Matsuo, Toshinari Takahashi, Kenji Kono
A head−tail type polycation block copolymer, which is composed of the polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendron and poly(l-lysine) (PLL) blocks, was newly designed as a nonviral gene vector in this study. This block copolymer (PAMAM dendron-PLL) was successfully synthesized in two steps:  the synthesis of the PAMAM dendron block and the polymerization of the PLL block from the PAMAM dendron block. PAMAM dendron and PLL blocks in block copolymer showed independent deprotonation behavior, and their pKa were determined to be 6.8 and 9.0, respectively. The complexation with pDNA was evaluated by gel retardation assay and dye exclusion assay, and both assays indicated that pDNA was selectively complexed with PLL block of block copolymer. Also, the PAMAM dendron-PLL poplyplexes showed 102 fold higher transfection efficiency to HeLa cells as that for PLL polyplexes. This might be due to the buffering effect of the PAMAM dendron block. This block copolymer could produce a function share in each block, i.e., tail block complexed with pDNA and head block showed a buffering effect. This molecular design of the head−tail type block copolymer might provide a new approach for realizing in vivo gene therapy.