[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inefficient cytosolic delivery and vector toxicity contribute to the limited use of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and siRNA as therapeutics. As anthrax toxin (Atx) accesses the cytosol, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of disarmed Atx to deliver either ASOs or siRNA. We hypothesized that this delivery strategy would facilitate improved transfection efficiency while eliminating the toxicity seen for many vectors due to membrane destabilization. Atx complex formation with ASOs or siRNA was achieved via the in-frame fusion of either Saccharomyces cerevisiae GAL4 or Homo sapien sapien PKR (respectively) to a truncation of Atx lethal factor (LFn), which were used with Atx protective antigen (PA). Western immunoblotting confirmed the production of: LFN-GAL4, LFn-PKR and PA which were detected at ~45.9kDa, ~37kDa, and ~83kDa respectively and small angle neutron scattering confirmed the ability of PA to form an annular structure with a radius of gyration of 7.0±1.0nm when placed in serum. In order to form a complex with LFn-GAL4, ASOs were engineered to contain a double-stranded region, and a cell free in vitro translation assay demonstrated that no loss of antisense activity above 30pmol ASO was evident. The in vitro toxicity of both PA:LFn-GAL4:ASO and PALFn-PKR:siRNA complexes was low (IC50>100μg/mL in HeLa and Vero cells) and subcellular fractionation in conjunction with microscopy confirmed the detection of LFn-GAL4 or LFn-PKR in the cytosol. Syntaxin5 (Synt5) was used as a model target gene to determine pharmacological activity. The PA:LFn-GAL4:ASO complexes had transfection efficiency approximately equivalent to Nucleofection® over a variety of ASO concentrations (24h post-transfection) and during a 72h time course. In HeLa cells, at 200pmol ASO (with PA:LFN-GAL4), 5.4±2.0% Synt5 expression was evident relative to an untreated control after 24h. Using 200pmol ASOs, Nucleofection® reduced Synt5 expression to 8.1±2.1% after 24h. PA:LFn-GAL4:ASO transfection of non- or terminally-differentiated THP-1 cells and Vero cells resulted in 35.2±19.1%, 36.4±1.8% and 22.9±6.9% (respectively) Synt5 expression after treatment with 200pmol of ASO and demonstrated versatility. Nucleofection® with Stealth RNAi™ siRNA reduced HeLa Synt5 levels to 4.6±6.1% whereas treatment with the PA:LFn-PKR:siRNA resulted in 8.5±3.4% Synt5 expression after 24h (HeLa cells). These studies report for the first time an ASO and RNAi delivery system based upon protein toxin architecture that is devoid of polycations. This system may utilize regulated membrane back-fusion for the cytosolic delivery of ASOs and siRNA, which would account for the lack of toxicity observed. High delivery efficiency suggests that further in vivo evaluation is warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structures of polymer brushes under confinement were measured using a combination of neutron reflectivity and a surface force type apparatus. The samples were either poly(ethylene oxide), PEO, used to investigate the effect of the grafting density or poly(acrylic acid), PAA, used to determine the effect of charge on the structure of a polymer brushes under confinement. Without confinement both PEO and PAA brushes are found to be highly swollen with water, >50% v/v, with the expected parabolic brush structure. Compression of the PEO brushes with as little as 0.5 bar of confinement is found experimentally to reduce the brush to a polymer block of uniform density that is significantly dehydrated, <12% v/v. Further subsequent increases in the confinement pressure only marginally decrease the hydration and thickness of the polymer block. The grafting density of the brush does not significantly influence this behavior. PAA polymer brushes with little (pH 3) or an intermediate level of charging (pH 5.5) are also found to be compressed into a single uniform density polymer block with a confinement of 5 bar. However, with a high level of charge (pH 9) the brush structure is believed to be partially retained due to the repulsion between the internal charges. These experimental results are compared against a theoretical model based on numerical self-consistent field (nSCF) theory as well as to osmotic, SFA, and AFM data. While the nSCF model correctly predicts the observed transition from a brush to a block profile, experimentally it occurs at a pressure 2 orders of magnitude lower than the simulations would suggest. The results acquired through simulation are consistent with available osmotic pressure data; however, SFA and AFM measurements are consistent with the neutron reflection experimental data presented here. This significant disagreement between the two data sets indicates that in a confined system the effective osmotic counter pressure to an applied mechanical pressure is much less than the osmotic pressure expected from the local polymer concentration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interactions between the strong polyelectrolyte sodium poly(styrene sulfonate), NaPSS, and the neutral polymer poly(vinyl pyrrolidone), PVP, were investigated in bulk and at the silica/solution interface using a combination of diffusion NMR, SANS, solvent relaxation NMR and ellipsometry. We show for the first time that complex formation occurs between NaPSS and PVP in solution; the complexes formed were shown not to be influenced by pH variation, whereas increasing the ionic strength increases the complexation of NaPSS but does not influence the PVP directly. The complexes formed contained a large proportion of NaPSS. Study of these interactions at the silica interface demonstrated that complexes also form at the nanoparticle interface where PVP is added in the system prior to NaPSS. For a constant PVP concentration and varying NaPSS concentration, the system remains stable until NaPSS is added in excess, which leads to depletion flocculation. Surface complex formation using the layer-by-layer technique was also reported at a planar silica interface.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gels can be formed by dissolving Fmoc-diphenylalanine (Fmoc-PhePhe or FmocFF) in an organic solvent and adding water. We show here that the choice and amount of organic solvent allows the rheological properties of the gel to be tuned. The differences in properties arise from the microstructure of the fibre network formed. The organic solvent can then be removed post-gelation, without significant changes in the rheological properties. Gels formed using acetone are meta-stable and crystals of FmocFF suitable for X-ray diffraction can be collected from this gel.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The surface functionalization of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) with various proteolytic enzymes (i.e., trypsin, papain, bromelain) via a two-step carbodiimide coupling method is presented. Depending on the initial Enzyme:NPs ratio, enzyme loadings up to 4.0 wt.%, 4.4 wt.% and 5.34 wt.% were achieved for trypsin, papain and bromelain, respectively. All three conjugated enzymes partially maintained their enzymatic activity after their coupling reaction with the NPs. NPs functionalized with papain and bromelain exhibited a three-fold higher permeability in porcine intestinal mucus compared to nonfunctionalized NPs whereas those conjugated with trypsin showed an almost two-fold higher permeability value. Measurements of the diffusion rates of intestinal mucin, using a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technique, further confirmed these observations, as the enzyme-functionalized NPs were proven to be capable of disrupting the mucin gel structure. According to the reported results, the coupling of proteolytic enzymes to the PLGA NPs' surface largely increases the NPs mucus permeability, thus making it a potentially important mucus permeation strategy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-sorting in low molecular weight hydrogels can be achieved using a pH triggered approach. We show here that this method can be used to prepare gels with different types of mechanical properties. Cooperative, disruptive or orthogonal assembled systems can be produced. Gels with interesting behaviour can be also prepared, for example self-sorted gels where delayed switch-on of gelation occurs. By careful choice of gelator, co-assembled structures can also be generated, which leads to synergistic strengthening of the mechanical properties.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Optical flow cell reflectometry was used to study the adsorption of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) to a silica surface and the subsequent surfactant adsorption and polymer desorption upon exposure to the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). We have studied these effects as a function of pH and surfactant concentration, but also for two different methods of silica preparation, O2 plasma and piranha cleaning. As a function of pH, a plateau in the amount adsorbed of ∼0.6 mg/m(2) is observed below a critical pH, above which the adsorption decreases to zero within 2-3 pH units. An increase in pH leads to dissociation of surface OH groups and a decreased potential for hydrogen bonding between the polymer and surface. For the plasma- and piranha-cleaned silica, the critical pH differs by 1-2 pH units, a reflection of the much larger amount of surface OH groups on piranha-cleaned silica (for a given pH). Subsequent rinsing of the adsorbed layer of PVP with an SDS solution leads to total or partial desorption of the PVP layer. Any remaining adsorbed PVP then acts as an adsorption site for SDS. A large difference between plasma- and piranha-cleaned silica is observed, with the PVP layer adsorbed to plasma-cleaned silica being much more susceptible to desorption by SDS. For a plasma-cleaned surface at pH 5.5, only 30% of the originally adsorbed PVP is remaining, while for piranha-cleaned silica, the pH can be increased to 10 before a similar reduction in the amount of adsorbed PVP is seen. For a given pH, piranha-cleaned silica has a higher surface charge, leading to a smaller amount of adsorbed SDS per PVP chain on a piranha-cleaned surface compared to a plasma-cleaned surface under identical conditions. In that way, the high negative surface charge makes desorption by negatively charged SDS more difficult. The high surface charge thus protects the neutral polymer from surfactant-mediated desorption.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The weak polyelectrolyte sodium polyacrylate, NaPA, and the neutral poly(vinyl pyrrolidone), PVP, were combined and the effects of complexation both in solution and at the nanoparticle interface were studied under basic pH conditions. Using a combination of SANS and PCS, we demonstrate that attractive interpolymer interactions occur between PVP and NaPA in solution (for polymers with molecular weights equal to 40 K and 60 K respectively); typically, no attractive interactions between PVP and NaPA are reported above a critical pH of 4-5. Polymer interactions in the bulk are observed between the larger molecular weight polymers studied. The mass ratios of polymer also affect the interactions in the bulk, indicating that polymer interactions are influenced by the charges present in the system. The addition of NaPA to a silica dispersion with PVP previously adsorbed to the particles is shown to led to polymer desorption and the destabilisation of the system leading to particle aggregation or even flocculation. SANS data show that the interparticle potential changes from being repulsive with bare silica or PVP-coated silica to attractive on addition of NaPA. The molecular weight of PVP is seen to affect the amount of polymer desorbed, whereas the molecular weight of NaPA had an effect on the aggregation of particles.
Colloids and Surfaces A Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 05/2014; 449(1):57–64. DOI:10.1016/j.colsurfa.2014.02.039 · 2.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasing human population requires a secure food supply and a cost effective, oral vaccine delivery system for livestock would help facilitate this end. Recombinant antigen adsorbed onto silica beads and coated with myristic acid, was released (∼15% (w/v)) over 24h at pH 8.8. At pH 2, the myristic acid acted as an enteric coating, protecting the antigen from a variety of proteases. The antigen adsorbed onto silica particles, coated in myristic acid had a conserved secondary structure (measured by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy) following its pH-triggered release. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) was used to measure the thickness of the adsorbed antigen, finding that its adsorbed conformation was slightly greater than its solution radius of gyration, i.e. 120-160Å. The addition of myristic acid led to a further increase in particle size, with scattering data consistent with an acid thickness slightly greater than a monolayer of fully extended alkyl chains and a degree of hydration of around 50%. Whilst adsorbed onto the silica and coated in myristic acid, the protein was stable over 14 days at 42°C, indicating a reduced need for cold chain storage. These data indicate that further investigation is warranted into the development of this technology.
International Journal of Pharmaceutics 03/2014; 468(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2014.03.046 · 3.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss the effect of the kinetics of pH change on the mechanical properties of dipeptide hydrogels. Data from other peptide-based low molecular weight gelator (LMWG) systems suggest that the rheological properties are often highly dependent on the assembly rate. To examine kinetics here, we have used the hydrolysis of glucono-δ-lactone (GdL). The hydrolysis of GdL to gluconic acid results in a decrease in pH, the rate of which is temperature sensitive. Hence, we can adjust the rate of pH decrease, whilst achieving the same absolute final pH. Our data shows that at all temperatures the rheological profile is very similar, with an increase to a plateau, followed by a second increase in moduli, despite very different kinetics of assembly. Surprisingly, the final mechanical properties are very similar in all cases. We also show that the structures formed at the plateau can be accessed by adjusting the pH using CO2. By carefully balancing the pKa of the gelator with the pH achievable using CO2, flexible hydrogel membranes can be formed as opposed to a bulk gel. The rheological characteristics of the membranes are typical of a highly entangled polymer network. These membranes can be rigidified by post-addition of GdL to further lower the pH.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of a nonionic alcohol ethoxylate surfactant, C(13)E(7), on the interactions between PVP and SDS both in the bulk and at the silica nanoparticle interface are studied by photon correlation spectroscopy, solvent relaxation NMR, SANS, and optical reflectometry. Our results confirmed that, in the absence of SDS, C(13)E(7) and PVP are noninteracting, while SDS interacts strongly both with PVP and C(13)E(7) . Studying interfacial interactions showed that the interfacial interactions of PVP with silica can be manipulated by varying the amounts of SDS and C(13)E(7) present. Upon SDS addition, the adsorbed layer thickness of PVP on silica increases due to Coulombic repulsion between micelles in the polymer layer. When C(13)E(7) is progressively added to the system, it forms mixed micelles with the complexed SDS, reducing the total charge per micelle and thus reducing the repulsion between micelle and the silica surface that would otherwise cause the PVP to desorb. This causes the amount of adsorbed polymer to increase with C(13)E(7) addition for the systems containing SDS, demonstrating that addition of C(13)E(7) hinders the SDS-mediated desorption of an adsorbed PVP layer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The surfactant-mediated desorption of adsorbed poly(vinylpyrrolidone), PVP, from anionic silica surfaces by sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS, was observed. While photon correlation spectroscopy shows that the size of the polymer-surfactant-particle ensemble grows with added SDS, a reduction in the near-surface polymer concentration is measured by solvent relaxation NMR. Volume fraction profiles of the polymer layer extracted from small-angle neutron scattering experiments illustrate that the adsorbed polymer layer has become more diffuse and the polymer chains more elongated as a result of the addition of SDS. The total adsorbed amount is shown to decrease due to Coulombic repulsion between the surfactant-polymer complexes and between the complexes and the anionic silica surface.