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Extracellular stability, endocytic escape, intracellular DNA release and nuclear translocation of DNA are all critical properties of non-viral vector/DNA particles. We have evaluated a (Lys)(16)-based linear, reducible polycation (RPC) in combination with an acid-dependent, anionic fusogenic peptide for gene delivery to dividing and post-mitotic cells. The RPC was formed from Cys(Lys)(16)Cys monomers. Molecular weight was 24,000 Da, corresponding to an average of 10.5 peptide monomers per RPC. Non-reducible polylysine (PLL) (27,000 Da) and monomeric (Lys)(16) peptide were evaluated for comparison. (Lys)(16)/DNA particles were disrupted at fusogenic peptide concentrations well below those used for gene delivery. By contrast, RPC/DNA an PLL/DNA particles were stable in the presence of high concentrations of the anionic peptide. Addition of 10% serum virtually abolished the transfection ability of (Lys)(16)/DNA/fusogenic peptide particles, but had little effect on RPC/DNA/fusogenic peptide particles. RPC/DNA/fusogenic peptide particles were highly effective for gene delivery to both cell lines and post-mitotic corneal endothelium. PLL/DNA/fusogenic peptide particles were moderately effective on cell lines, but gave no gene delivery with corneal endothelial cells. We conclude that (Lys)(16)-based RPC/DNA/fusogenic peptide particles provide a gene delivery system which is potentially stable in the extracellular environment and, on reductive depolymerisation, can release DNA plasmids for nuclear translocation.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





1331 - 1337


Adenoviridae, Animals, Cell Line, Cornea, Gene Transfer Techniques, Genetic Vectors, HeLa Cells, Humans, Male, Membrane Fusion, Nanoparticles, Peptides, Polyamines, Polylysine, Rabbits, Resting Phase, Cell Cycle