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Transferrin-Dressed Virus-like Ternary Nanoparticles with Aggregation-Induced Emission for Targeted Delivery and Rapid Cytosolic Release of siRNA

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-27, 00:00 authored by Tingbin Zhang, Weisheng Guo, Chunqiu Zhang, Jing Yu, Jing Xu, Shuyi Li, Jian-Hua Tian, Paul C. Wang, Jin-Feng Xing, Xing-Jie Liang
Viruses have evolved to be outstandingly efficient at gene delivery, but their use as vectors is limited by safety risks. Inspired by the structure of viruses, we constructed a virus-mimicking vector (denoted as TR4@siRNA@Tf NCs) with virus-like architecture and infection properties. Composed of a hydrophilic peptide, an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) luminogen, and a lipophilic tail, TR4 imitates the viral capsid and endows the vector with AIE properties as well as efficient siRNA compaction. The outer glycoprotein transferrin (Tf) mimics the viral envelope protein and endows the vector with reduced cytotoxicity as well as enhanced targeting capability. Because of the strong interaction between Tf and transferrin receptors on the cell surface, the Tf coating can accelerate the intracellular release of siRNA into the cytosol. Tf and TR4 are eventually cycled back to the cell membrane. Our results confirmed that the constructed siRNA@TR4@Tf NCs show a high siRNA silencing efficiency of 85% with significantly reduced cytotoxicity. These NCs have comparable transfection ability to natural viruses while avoiding the toxicity issues associated with typical nonviral vectors. Therefore, this proposed virus-like siRNA vector, which integrates the advantages of both viral and nonviral vectors, should find many potential applications in gene therapy.

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