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Transfection of plasmid DNA by nanocarriers containing a gemini cationic lipid with an aromatic spacer or its monomeric counterpart

Martínez-Negro, María, Barrán-Berdón, Ana L., Aicart-Ramos, Clara, Moyá, María L., de Ilarduya, Conchita Tros, Aicart, Emilio, Junquera, Elena
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2017
ammonium, biocompatibility, bromides, cell viability, colloids, deoxyribonuclease I, electrochemistry, genes, in vivo studies, lipids, liquid crystals, nanocarriers, plasmids, surfactants, toxicity, transfection, viability assays, zwitterions
This study performed a biophysical characterization (electrochemistry, structure and morphology) and assessment of the biological activity and cell biocompatibility of GCL/DOPE-pDNA lipoplexes comprised of plasmid DNA and a mixed lipid formed by a DOPE zwitterionic lipid and a gemini cationic lipid N-N′-(1,3-phenylene bis (methylene)) bis (N,N-dimethyl-N-(1-dodecyl) ammonium dibromide (12PH12) containing an aromatic spacer or its monomeric counterpart surfactant, N-benzyl-N,N-dimethyl-N-(1-dodecyl) ammonium bromide (12PH). Electrochemical results reveal that i) the gemini cationic lipid (12PH12) and the plasmid pDNA yield effective charges less than their nominal charges (+2 and −2/bp, respectively) and that ii) both vectors (12PH12/DOPE and 12PH/DOPE) could compact pDNA and protect it from DNase I degradation. SAXS and cryo-TEM experiments indicate the presence of a lamellar lyotropic liquid crystal phase represented as alternating layers of mixed lipid and plasmid. Transfection efficiency (by FACS and luminometry) and cell viability assay in COS-7 cells, performed with two plasmid DNAs (pEGFP-C3 and pCMV-Luc VR1216), confirm the goodness of the proposed formulations (12PH12/DOPE and 12PH/DOPE) to transport genetic material, with efficiencies and biocompatibilities comparable to or better than those exhibited by the control Lipofectamine 2000*. In conclusion, although major attention has been paid to gemini cationic lipids in the literature, due to the large variety of modifications that their structures may support to improve the biological activity of the resulting lipoplexes, it is remarkable that the monomeric counterpart surfactant with an aromatic group analyzed in the present work also exhibits good biological activity. The in vitro results reported here indicate that the optimum formulations of the gene vectors studied in this work efficiently transfect plasmid DNA with very low toxicity levels and, thus, may be used in forthcoming in vivo experiments.