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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(5), 7049-7063; doi:10.3390/ijms15057049
Article

Antheraea pernyi Silk Fibroin-Coated PEI/DNA Complexes for Targeted Gene Delivery in HEK 293 and HCT 116 Cells

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Received: 26 March 2014 / Revised: 31 March 2014 / Accepted: 8 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic and Functional Materials)
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Abstract

Polyethylenimine (PEI) has attracted much attention as a DNA condenser, but its toxicity and non-specific targeting limit its potential. To overcome these limitations, Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin (ASF), a natural protein rich in arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid (RGD) peptides that contains negative surface charges in a neutral aqueous solution, was used to coat PEI/DNA complexes to form ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes. Coating these complexes with ASF caused fewer surface charges and greater size compared with the PEI/DNA complexes alone. In vitro transfection studies revealed that incorporation of ASF led to greater transfection efficiencies in both HEK (human embryonic kidney) 293 and HCT (human colorectal carcinoma) 116 cells, albeit with less electrostatic binding affinity for the cells. Moreover, the transfection efficiency in the HCT 116 cells was higher than that in the HEK 293 cells under the same conditions, which may be due to the target bonding affinity of the RGD peptides in ASF for integrins on the HCT 116 cell surface. This result indicated that the RGD binding affinity in ASF for integrins can enhance the specific targeting affinity to compensate for the reduction in electrostatic binding between ASF-coated PEI carriers and cells. Cell viability measurements showed higher cell viability after transfection of ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes than after transfection of PEI/DNA binary complexes alone. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release studies further confirmed the improvement in the targeting effect of ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes to cells. These results suggest that ASF-coated PEI is a preferred transfection reagent and useful for improving both the transfection efficiency and cell viability of PEI-based nonviral vectors.
Keywords: Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin; PEI (polyethylenimine); gene transfection Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin; PEI (polyethylenimine); gene transfection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Liu, Y.; You, R.; Liu, G.; Li, X.; Sheng, W.; Yang, J.; Li, M. Antheraea pernyi Silk Fibroin-Coated PEI/DNA Complexes for Targeted Gene Delivery in HEK 293 and HCT 116 Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 7049-7063.

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