Vesicular polyion complexes (PICs) were fabricated through self-assembly of rigid cylindrical molecules, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), with flexible block catiomers of poly(ethylene glycol) (2 kDa) and cationic polyaspartamide derivative (70 units) bearing a 5-aminopentyl side chain. 100 nm-sized siRNA-assembled vesicular PICs, termed siRNAsomes, were fabricated in specific mixing ranges between siRNA and block catiomer. The siRNAsome membrane was revealed to consist of PIC units fulfilling a simple molar ratio (1:2 or 2:3) of block catiomer and siRNA. These ratios correspond to the minimal integer molar ratio to maximally compensate the charge imbalance of PIC, because the numbers of charges per block catiomer and siRNA are +70 and -40, respectively. Accordingly, the ζ-potentials of siRNAsomes prepared at 1:2 and 2:3 were negative and positive, respectively. Cross-section transmission electron microscopic observation clarified that the membrane thicknesses of 1:2 and 2:3 siRNAsomes were 11.0 and 17.2 nm, respectively. Considering that a calculated long-axial length of siRNA is 5.9 nm, these thickness values correspond to the membrane models of two (11.8 nm) and three (17.7 nm) tandemly aligned siRNAs associating with one and two block catiomers, respectively. For biological application, siRNAsomes were stabilized through membrane-cross-linking with glutaraldehyde. The positively charged and cross-linked siRNAsome facilitated siRNA internalization into cultured cancer cells, eliciting significant gene silencing with negligible cytotoxicity. The siRNAsome stably encapsulated dextran as a model cargo macromolecule in the cavity by simple vortex mixing. Confocal laser scanning microscopic observation displayed that both of the payloads were internalized together into cultured cells. These results demonstrate the potential of siRNAsomes as a versatile platform for codelivery of siRNA with other cargo macromolecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry